Global Article9 Campaign
HOME | what's article9 | about campaign | global scope | supporters | conference | voices | support article9 | resources | organizers
Home SiteMap / Contact us
what's article9
about campaign
global scope
support article9

Sign up for our eNewsletter
May 2010
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War

Newsletter #28
In This Issue
Article 9 Links
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War

Why Not 9?
Official Conference website

Join the Global Article 9 Campaign on Facebook
Join Our Mailing List

Dear Friends and Supporters of Article 9,

We are pleased to send you some information about the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War's recent activities and related developments.


As the Global Article 9 Campaign is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year of promoting peace constitutions and advocating for the abolition of war in Japan and around the world, we are commemorating this anniversary by looking back at the first years of the Global Article 9 Campaign, how it has changed since 2005, and where it is heading.

62nd DPI/NGO Conference PosterBelow is the excerpt of an interview with Sasamoto Jun, Secretary General of the Japan Lawyer's Internationals Solidarity Association (JALISA) on the involvement of Japanese and international lawyers in the Campaign, as well as on peace constitutions in general.

Question: How have Japanese and international lawyers become involved in the Global Article 9 Campaign?

Sasamoto: In February 2005, at the GPPAC Northeast Asia Conference held in Tokyo, many Asian participants talked about the regional impact that a revision of Article 9 would have (...) not only on the Japanese people, but also on all Asian countries. It is in this context that the Campaign was launched.

In November 2005, the Japanese delegation to the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)'s meeting held in Bulgaria proposed to join the Global Article 9 Campaign.

The response was very positive. European lawyers said that Article 9 was better than the United Nations Charter: while Article 2, paragraph 4 prohibits the use of force as an international principle, Article 51 grants a right to use force. Article 9 of Japan's constitution, however, prohibits all wars and the maintenance of military forces.

We Japanese lawyers participated in a conference (COLAP4) in 2005 in Seoul. We submitted a report on the debate around revising Article 9 of Japan's Constitution. In light of the danger posed by a revision, IADL's President suggested holding an international conference exclusively on Article 9. So, after discussing the idea with Kawasaki Akira of Peace Boat, we decided to hold an international conference on Article 9 in Japan.

Question: After the Global Article 9 Conference held in Tokyo in May 2008, how have lawyers continued being involved?

Sasamoto: In June 2009, IADL held its XVIIth international congress in Hanoi, Viet Nam. We Japanese lawyers brought up the Global Article 9 Campaign for the first time in such a large international lawyers' conference. In its final declaration, the congress explicitly expressed its support for the Global Article 9 Campaign and called on all lawyers and jurists to work for the implementation of a peace clause in every country. [For more about the Congress, click here.]

Question: Now, a few questions about peace constitutions in general: what do you mean when you talk about peace constitutions?

Sasamoto: There are many kinds of peace constitutions: non-military ones like in Japan, Costa Rica and Panama; non-foreign military base constitutions like in Ecuador, Venezuela, and the Philippines. Another type is non-nuclear constitutions, like in the Philippines. Finally, another kind of peace constitution is about resolving conflicts by non-military means, like the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia signed by ASEAN.

Question: Does any country currently have an ideal constitution?

Sasamoto: I would say the non-military one is the best. But it is the most difficult to incorporate. Non-foreign military base constitutions allow the existence of the military, which can lead to resolving conflict by force. So, the idea is quite different. And for the non- foreign military bases, they still have their own national armies, like Ecuador or Venezuela.

Question: So if non-military is your ideal type, does any country's or countries' constitution currently reflect that ideal type?

Sasamoto: Panama's constitution refers to the Japanese and Costa Rican constitutions, but maybe there is no ideal type of constitution in the world today. There are maybe about 30 countries without armies in the world, but they have no constitution: like the Vatican or Monaco, they just cannot have an army for financial reasons.

Question: Next question, and maybe this is the opposite side. What are the minimum traits or characteristics of a peace constitution?

Sasamoto: At the minimum, the common factor in all of these kinds of constitutions is conflict resolution by non-military means.

Question: Why do you think it is important to focus on peace constitutions rather than on state's policies?

Sasamoto: National government policies are easy to change through elections or public opinion, but a constitution is more difficult to amend. And a constitution can fix a situation, reflect a cultural situation in a given country. Take Japan for example: most Japanese people take it for granted that the country cannot make war. Though Japan dispatched Self-Defense Force to Iraq, they didn't participate in combat operations. Likewise, people in Costa Rica think it is absolutely natural not to have an army, it is part of their culture. So, constitutions can create a culture of peace. Policies cannot.

Question: And what about the reality: there is often a gap between a state's constitution and its actual policies? Does that challenge the importance of peace constitutions?

Sasamoto: Yes, it is correct, but constitutions restrict policy-making. For example, Japan can dispatch Self-Defense Force to Iraq, but it cannot use force because of Article 9. Or Japan cannot have nuclear weapons, because we have Article 9. Or Japan cannot export weapons because of Article 9. Article 9 can restrict Japan's policies, at least. Yet, there are Self-Defense Forces and US bases in Japan, despite Article 9. I believe that if the idea of Article 9 is spread to other countries in the world, we can come close(r) to the spirit of Article 9. No military, no US bases. Sometime in the future.

Question: For you, what kind of culture or environment fosters the fulfillment of the ideas espoused in peace constitutions?

Sasamoto: Conflict resolution is very important. The way conflict is resolved is important - through dialogue, not by force. I can see this everyday, everywhere. As a lawyer, I am engaged in resolving conflicts everyday - through dialogue and by law. But outside of my law firm, a lot needs to be done in Japan to resolve conflicts peacefully. I think we need to change minds to resolve conflicts through dialogue. We need to start peace education in schools. By spreading peace education in schools in Japan, we can come closer to the spirit of Article 9.

Sasamoto Jun: "Challenge of Peace Constitution"Sasamoto Jun recently published a new book on peace constitutions. Entitled "Challenge of Peace Constitutions", the book introduces various peace constitutions around the world and looks at how Article 9 of Japan's Constitution has inspired countries to adopt peace clauses, notably in Latin America.

For more information about the book, click here (Japanese only).The book can be purchased on here (Japanese only).

This interview is part of a series of interviews with leaders, supporters, and participants of the Global Article 9 Campaign conducted by former Peace Boat and Global Article 9 Campaign intern Jay Gilliam.

Jay Gilliam is currently carrying out research on the Global Article 9 Campaign and peace constitutions around the world. He is completing a Master's Program in Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan.


NPT SIDE-EVENT ON MILITARY SPENDING IN NORTHEAST ASIAOn May 3rd, civil society groups from Japan, South Korea, and the United States gathered in New York and held a forum entitled 'Military Spending in Northeast Asia' at Kent Hall, Columbia University as part of the joint Pacific Freeze campaign. The campaign was initiated a few years ago to freeze and then reduce the military spending of the countries involved in the Six Party Talks, which account for about 70% of global military spending.

Moderated by John Feffer of Foreign Policy in Focus at IPS, the panel consisted of Kim Maria of Peace Network, Lee Taeho of People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, and Kawasaki Akira of Peace Boat/Global Article 9 Campaign.

Mr. Feffer opened the panel by addressing the problems of skyrocketing military spending and pervasive conflicts in the region. He stated that although the situation currently does not look promising, viable movements at the local, regional, and global levels can contribute to reducing military budgets. In this regard, he added that "building a regional security mechanism or institution will be critical [to achieve the campaign's goals]."

Kim Maria and Lee Taeho reported on the current situation and military policy of South Korea. While introducing the increasing trend of military spending and strengthening militarism in South Korea, Ms. Kim raised the worrying possibility of its government's participation in the missile defense system. "If it happens, that will lead to worsening the relationship among neighboring countries in the region", said Kim.

Mr. Lee raised a critical question regarding 'who defines a threat?' He pointed out the paradox that while North Korea and Iran are frequently described as threats for violating the promise of nuclear non-proliferation, Japan, South Korea, and the US are free from accusations despite the fact that the first two countries are under the US nuclear umbrella and the US continues to keep the option of a preemptive nuclear attack against North Korea on the table. In light of this contradiction, Lee encouraged people not to leave the job of determining what represents a threat to a handful of government officials or security experts but expand the influence of civil society over security policy-making process.

A report from Japan was presented by Kawasaki Akira. Despite the existence of the three principles of non-nuclear, non-arms export, and peaceful use of space, the Japanese government is currently working on the development and deployment of missile defense in cooperation with the US. The US-Japan alliance has been defined as key priority in Tokyo's security policy and is used to push for the relocation of the US military base within Okinawa despite the overwhelming opposition of Okinawans and the general public of Japan. By emphasizing the negative signs against the military reduction in Japan, Kawasaki called upon the countries involved in the Six Party Talks to create a nuclear-free peace and security mechanism in the region and highlighted Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution as a good model. In addition, he recommended that civil society unite and share the principles of Japan's Peace Constitution.

Also on the margin of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the United Nations headquarters, a workshop on 'a Northeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ)' was jointly organized by governmental and non-governmental organizations. From a governmental side, Hiraoka Hideo (Japanese MP), Taue Tomihisa (Mayor of Nagasaki), Ebine Yasunori (Mayor of Fujisawa City), Takeuchi Osamu (Mayor of Hirakata City) and Yoshihara Takashi (Chairman of Nagasaki City Council) participated and stressed the importance of a Northeast Asia NWFZ initiative as an effective tool to achieve denuclearization of the region and furthermore a "World Free of Nuclear Weapons. In response, the civil society groups showed their strong supports for this initiative and suggested possible models and strategies.

These events took place at a time of extreme tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang triggered by the explosion and sinking of a South Korean naval warship in March. While the South Korean government singled out North Korea for the incident, Korean civil society has raised suspicion on the accuracy and timing of the government's report, pointing out the lack of tangible evidence of the North's involvement. While many critical questions remain unanswered, Seoul cut off all economic and cooperative ties with Pyongyang and Washington announced new US-Korea joint naval exercises.

The Global Article 9 Campaign calls for a thorough investigation to reveal the truth of the case, urges all parties to act with restraint to avoid provocation, and warns against using the incident as an excuse for a military buildup.

After four weeks of debate, the NPT Review Conference  concluded with the adoption of a consensus document. While many observers expressed disappointment that the outcome document did not go far enough in setting tangible benchmarks towards nuclear disarmament, others like Tim Wright of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) qualified the sheer fact that delegation agreed on an action plan "better than nothing, but barely."

Amongst other recommendations, the final document calls on North Korea to return to the NPT and adhere to IAEA safeguards. It also reaffirms its support for the now-suspended six-party talks that seek to resolve the deadlock over Pyongyang's nuclear program.


Futenma protest, OkinawaThe administration of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama may be on the brink, after Tokyo's decision to abide by a 2006 bilateral agreement and relocate the controversial US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma within Okinawa,despite earlier pledge to move it outside the island or the prefecture "at the very least."

A joint statement by Japan and the US released on May 28 announced the relocation of the base from urban Ginowan to a less populated area on reclaimed land off the coast of the Henoko district in Nago, and stated there will be "no significant delays" in the completion of the relocation site's scheduled for 2014.

The deal was reached following months of dispute. The deadlock ended after Washington agreed to minor concessions to the agreement, including some language on environmental protection and claims that other ways will be considered to reduce the burden on Okinawa.

Hatoyama recently qualified his electoral pledge to close the controversial Futenma US marine base as "unfeasible", choosing instead to stick to the plans of his predecessor. The prime minister gave himself until the end of May to solve the issue, suggesting he may step down if he failed to resolve the deadlock. When he came to power, Hatoyama had promised to build a "more equal" relationship with Washington.

Hatoyama's inability to reconcile the dispute between Okinawa's and his constituency's sheer opposition on the one hand, and Washington's pressure on the other hand has taken a toll on his popularity at home, with polls showing a decreasing public support.

Opposition in Okinawa and throughout the country has become increasingly vocal, with tens of thousand of the island's residents complaining about noise, pollution and crime caused by the presence of US bases. On April 25, nearly 100,000 people came together in Okinawa to protest and demand that the Futenma base be removed from the southern island rather than relocated within the prefecture.

Human Chain around Futenma, OkinawaAn annual event was held on May 15-16 for the 38th anniversary of Okinawa's return from US occupation to Japanese sovereignty. A 13-kilometer long human chain encircled the US base. The demonstration called for global peace, opposed the government's plan to relocate within the island and demanded the unconditional return of land used by US bases. The series of events in Okinawa attracted about 17,000 despite torrential rains and included, in addition to the human chain, a march and a rally.

In Tokyo, as well, hundreds of people came together and formed a human chain in front of the Diet building.

With elections in the Parliament's Upper House in July, Hatoyama's job is on the line as his failure to move the base has weakened his ruling coalition. His decision has already led the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to walk out of the ruling coalition, after its leader Fukushima Mizuho was dismissed of her functions as Consumer Affairs Minister. Ms. Fukushima had denounced the decision to keep the US Futenma base in Okinawa and refused to sign off the Cabinet resolution on the issue.

Okinawa, which hosts 75% of US military facilities and more than half of the 50,000 US troops stationed in Japan, is seen as the focal point of the security treaty between the two countries under which the US guarantees Japan's security.

Under the previous government, Tokyo agreed to move the base within Okinawa as well as relocate 8,000 Marines to Guam.

The decision puts an end to earlier indications by Hatoyama that he may question the need for such a large US presence, instead reaffirming Japan's official position that the "US-Japan alliance remains indispensable not only to the defence of Japan, but also to the peace, security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region."

Picture credit: Jiji News Agency



After a year of efforts in building a network in Northeast Asian countries (mainly China, Japan and Korea) and researching and learning from other regional peacebuilding institutes' experiences, the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) held its first Steering Committee meeting to lay the foundations towards the Institute's launch in 2011.

NARPI is a place of (re)training for community leaders, students, NGO activists, professionals, scholars, religious leaders and government officials who are interested in deepening their theoretical knowledge of peace and conflict or sharpening their practical peacebuilding skills. Indeed, sustainable peacebuilding needs to take root and spread through people who receive peacebuilding training at the grassroots and civil society level, not only governmental levels.

For the first year, NARPI will most likely be hosted by South Korea, but hosting the Institute will rotate among other countries (including in Japan, China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Far East Russia, etc.) in following years, so that NARPI's courses and contents can benefit the people and organizations of different hosting countries in the region.

NARPI Peace EducationStarting in summer 2011, NARPI will offer three weeks of intensive theoretical and practical courses for peace educators, activities, school teachers and adult students in the field of peacebuilding on topics ranging from peace education, culture and peace, religion, development and the environment, to restorative justice and media and peacebuilding, starting the summer of 2011.

Sponsored by the Mennonite Central Committee and the European Center for Conflict Prevention as International Secretariat of Global Partnership of Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), the first steering committee meeting brought together people from many countries within Northeast Asia and beyond - including educators, activists, academics and church leaders. For four days, they brainstormed on the training contents that Northeast Asia needs for peace (including history and territorial issues as well as disarmament and military issues) and designed the first courses and programs accordingly.

In this context, US military bases in Okinawa and Comfort Women were identified as specific issues to tackle, and Article 9 of Japan's constitution was referred to as a tool for creating peace in the region without relying on force.

To learn more about NARPI, visit its website here.

To find out how to get involved, contact the NARPI secretariat, based in Seoul.

Thank you for your interest in and support for theGlobal Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War.


The Article 9 Team

Newsletter Editor:
Celine Nahory, International Coordinator
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War / Peace Boat

©2008 GPPAC JAPAN All Rights Reserved.