a major part of this campaign, the large scale “Global
Conference to Abolish War”was held in Japan from
the official website of the Conference at: whynot9.jp
three-day event attracted over 33,000 participants
nationwide: over 22,000 in Tokyo, 8,000 in Osaka, 2,000 in
Hiroshima and 1,000 in Sendai.
Close to 200 international guest speakers and participants came from
40 different countries and regions to represent all continents at the
the participation of Nobel Peace Laureates, intellectuals, cultural
figures and NGO activists, the conference has been a forum for
dialogue and discussions on the role that citizens of the world can
play to realize the principles of Article 9, through promoting
disarmament, demilitarization and a culture of peace.
The opening plenary session on May 4th
keynote speakers Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Cora Weiss, as
well as many internationally renowned speakers, including Emmanuel
Bombande, Beate Sirota Gordon, Iraqi and US veterans Kasim Turki and
Aidan Delgado, Lee Suk-tae and Carlos Vargas Pizarro, to name just a
an arena filled to its capacity, speakers gave outstanding and
thought-provoking presentations, taking the public into palpable
emotion and inspiring them with their own powerful experiences. For
those 3000+ participants who were unable to enter the conference's
main event hall, an improvised venue was created at a nearby park,
with speeches form keynote speakers Mairead Corrigan Maguire and Cora
Weiss , as well as conference co-initiator Yoshioka Tatsuya. The day
ended with live concerts and artistic performances.
View related documents as follows:
the second day (May 5), thematic discussions and debates delved into
non-violent alternatives to contemporary conflicts, the contribution
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki's experiences to international efforts to
abolish nuclear weapons, women and peacebuilding, the role of Article
9 in Asia, its impact on the environment and more. Around 7,000
participants attended the the 12 symposiums, panel discussions and
workshops, the more than two dozen self-organized events, and the
many movies and musical performances. Experts in different fields
shared their experiences and examined the linkages between the
principles of Article 9 and the many areas they work in, such as
peace, disarmament, conflict prevention, peacebuilding and the
environment. They discussed how to take practical steps towards
building world peace, social justice and global stability systems
that do not rely on force.
list of speakers and their profiles
Report of symposiums and panels
the last day (May 6), participants issued a declaration in
which they pledged to carry on the international campaign to support
Article 9 "as a shared property of the world” that can
as an international peace mechanism”and called on governments
adopt similar peace clauses in their constitutions.
through a participatory process which involved all official guests
and the over 200 member Japan organizing committee, the Global
Article 9 Declaration to Abolish War provides a set of
recommendations to governments and reiterates civil society's
commitments to implement them. Adopted on behalf of all guests and
participants, the declaration has been endorsed by Nobel Peace
Laureates Mairead Maguire, Jody Williams, by the Nobel Women's Peace
Initiative, as well as by former UN Assistant Secretary General and
Coordinator for Iraq Hans von Sponeck.
Read the Global
Article 9 Declaration to Abolish War here.
addition to the declaration, two statements signed by key
participants of the Conference were released - one addressed to the
Second Session of the Review Conference of the States Parties to the
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) taking place
simultaneously in Geneva, and the other to be taken to the G8 Summit
in Hokkaido, Japan in July, under Japanese presidency of the G8.
Read the statement to
the NPT PrepCom here.
Read the G8 statement here.
addition, messages of support to the conference were sent by high
profile guests who, unfortunately, were unable to join the conference
at the last minute, including former International Court of Justice
Judge Christopher G. Weeramantry and Chief of the NGO Section of the
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Hanifa Mezoui.
Christopher G. Weeramantry's statement here.
Hanifa Mezoui's message of support here.
Japanese media covered the event extensively and positively. Articles
have been published in English as well, in Japanese and international
See for example:
- "Thousands vow to protect Japan's pacifist
constitution from changes", Associated Press/International
Herald Tribune (May 4, 2008)
- "Thousands convene for int'l Article 9
Today (May 4, 2008)
- "Nobel Peace Prize winner hits moves to
change Article 9"
Japan Times (May 5, 2008)
- "Article 9 conference calls for spread of
pacifism in Asia" Japan
Times (May 6, 2008)
- "Article 9 conference concludes"
Associated Press/Kyodo News (May 6, 2008)
In addition, several guests have written
their own articles and
reports, providing a more in-depth and personal account of the
- Frederic Durand, "Japanese Rainbow Gathers Tens of
Thousands to Defend Article 9" International Peace Bureau
- John Junkerman, "The Global Article 9 Conference: Towards the
Abolition of War", Japan Focus (May 25, 2008)
- Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC),
Article 9 Conference to Abolish War Huge Success”
(May 14, 2008)
- Alice Slater, "Global
Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War Launched in Japan", CommonDreams.org
(June 2, 2008)
- Ann Wright, "Japanese
People Still Say "No More Wars", truthout (May 5, 2008)
the Conference Onwards
conference was a success. Many expressed the feeling that it was a
"historical moment", when people from all over Japan and
abroad came together to share ideas and energies towards building a
world without war. The high numbers of participants reveal
that the debate in Japan was in dire need of a new impetus. The
Japanese audience was positively surprised to discover the global
interest in the issue, while international participants were enthused
to learn more about the Article 9 debate in Japan and reflect on the
potential of Article 9 principles as an international mechanism to
promote global peace and stability.
The Hague in 1999, the prospect of changing the state of the world
appears achievable. Japanese participants left motivated and feeling
empowered to continue resisting the conservative attempts to amend
the Japanese constitution. Likewise, our international colleagues
left Japan inspired and eager to bring the principles of Article 9
back to their home countries and to spread those principles abroad.
is time to push the campaign forward. Most important is to keep the
momentum built through the conference and to translate its goals and
formulated ideas into actions.
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Pictures credit: Stacy