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.
|WIKILEAKS: BEHIND THE SCENE OF JAPAN-US DIPLOMACY
Earlier this month, Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun published a series of articles based on some 7,000 US diplomatic cables obtained from WikiLeaks exposing the way the Japanese government has handled the contentious relocation of the US base in Futenma, Okinawa and what appears to be a double game on the part of the Japanese government. Further, the newspaper draws a grim picture of the sometimes tense relations of Washington with its Japanese ally.
Double game on Futenma
The cables give a detailed account of how, despite public statements to the contrary, Japanese government officials were never committed to relocate the US Air Base of Futenma outside of Okinawa.
In fact, in the months preceding the historic August 2009 change of government, the Democratic Party of Japan led by Hatoyama Yukio repeatedly pledged to take public sentiment in Okinawa into consideration and relocate Futenma outside of the prefecture.
Yet cables reporting on a meeting between US Ambassador John Roos and DPJ cabinet members in December 2009 reveal that while saying Japan would seek an alternative that is acceptable to both US and the Okinawa people, "the DPJ would be prepared to go ahead with the current relocation plan" if the US "does not agree to any alternative to the existing FRF [Futenma Relocation Facility] plan" - a position confirmed by then Prime Minister Hatoyama in a private meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In January 2010, several alternatives for the Futenma relocation emerged. US diplomatic cables reported that options outside of Okinawa would be "consider[ed] 'for form's sake' (...), but the only realistic options are to move Futenma to Camp Schwab or another 'existing facility'" within Okinawa as per the 2006 agreement. Unsurprisingly, none of the alternatives led to a successful outcome.
The Asahi Shimbun also uncovers that the 2006 agreement to relocate thousands of US Marines from Okinawa Prefecture to Guam in conjunction with the Futenma relocation was based on manipulated figures regarding the financial burden on each nation - a strategy aiming to make Japan's share appear smaller.
The construction of an unnecessary $1 billion (81 billion yen) military road by the United States and the exaggeration of the number of US Marines and their families to be moved to the US territory of Guam were meant to "optimize political value" of the agreement as part of the negotiations between the two governments, bringing Japan's actual contribution to the total actual costs of the relocation at 66%, as opposed to the 59% agreed.
The Chinese Equation
To make its case for keeping its base on Okinawa and get Japan to be more cooperative with the US position, US diplomats played the "China card".
Traditionally, the US has abstained from referring explicitly to China in discussions with other governments. Yet, though neither Tokyo nor Washington have ever formally justified the need for the presence of US forces in Okinawa, it has been widely understood as a deterrent against the escalation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the build-up of China's military capabilities.
By claiming its presence in Okinawa was necessary to prepare for a potential military engagement with China, US diplomats rejected an alternative plans put forward by their Japanese counterparts.
The US "China card" came a few months after Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio, just before his election as Prime Minister, publicly played with the idea of creating an East Asia Community - a plan that generated strong reactions in US circles, despite his reassurances that "of course, the Japan-US security pact [would] continue to be the cornerstone of Japanese diplomatic policy."
"Imagine the Japanese response if the US government were to say publicly that it wished to devote more attention to China than Japan," cables report Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell as asking a high-ranking Japanese official in frustration to the Hatoyama's East Asia Community proposal, highlighting the fact that the US would be excluded of the proposal for new regional arrangements.
A rocky relationship
Hatoyama's East Asia Community proposal reflected sentiments in some circles that Japan has been too dependent on the US and was seeking a more "equal relationship" with its ally. Yet, as documented by several cables during this period, Washington made clear that "the United States did not see Japan's relations with the United States and China as zero sum," and that "such remarks would create a crisis in US-Japan relations." It was also threatened that should "the current trend continue, US patience would wear thin" and "recovery [from such crisis] would be difficult."
In addition to putting pressure on their Japanese counterparts, US officials operated a rapprochement with senior officials in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a party now in opposition and known to be more "pro-US", in hope the party would regain control of government.
As part of these contacts, Wikileaks cables report that LDP bureaucrats not only criticized the direction Japan's foreign policy was taking under the new government in very strong terms (going as far as qualifying it of "stupid"); they also secretly advised their US counterparts not to show flexibility too early in the discussions on the relocation of Futenma - a move that stood against their national interest and undermined the DPJ administration's efforts to carry out negotiations.
Proposal for SDF permanent presence in Guam
According to a secret cable from the US embassy in Tokyo dated February 2010 released by Wikileaks, high level US officials have recommended that the Japan Self Defense Forces maintain a permanent presence on Guam for "US military-Japan Self Defense Force training" purposes.
Such permanent presence would contravene Japan's pacifist constitution that prohibits the dispatch of armed troops to foreign territory.
Though reportedly limited to disaster response, this US proposal is part of the global reorganization of its military bases, in which context it has been pressuring Japan for a more complete military cooperation and partnership.
Read the Asahi Shimbun's series of articles on The Truth Behind Japan-U.S. Ties here, here, here, here, here and here.
Read more on the US proposal for permanent SDF presence in Guam here.
Photo credit: Getty Images
|NEWARK PEACE EDUCATION SUMMIT INSPIRES THOUSANDS
On May 13-15, one of the biggest peace events since the 1999 Hague Peace Conference was held in the United States.
The Newark Peace Education Summit took place at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in New Jersey, drawing together some 100 speakers and 30 organizations working in peacebuilding and conflict resolution at the global, regional, communal, and interpersonal levels from around the world to explore the programs, policies, and methods used by communities to establish peace, why and how they work, and how to replicate them in America and around the world.
Participants included Nobel Peace Laureates, notably the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi, and Jody Williams, human rights and non-violence activists, indigenous and religious leaders, disarmament and development specialists and more.
For three days, workshops and panels focusing on peacemaking practices from around the world explored topics ranging from peace education to the "neuroscience of enlightenment," and peacemaking through the arts, creating memorable scenes such as a former child soldier from Sierra Leone sharing his experience of violence and transition to non-violence and a commitment to peace; Shirin Ebadi speaking on the rule of law and the rights of women in Iran; Rabbi Michael Lerner developing his vision and calling for a new direction of peace campaigning through a new Global Marshall Plan; and Jody Williams criticizing the US for "spend[ing] more on defense than every other nation in the world combined, and clos[ing] the schools of our children" and insisting there was no such thing as a "just war."
One of the sessions was dedicated to Disarmament for Development, an issue at the heart of the Global Article 9 Campaign.
Panelist Narae Lee of Peace Boat-US spoke of the pivotal role played by Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution in limiting Japan's militarization and building trust among Asian-Pacific countries. She went on to underline how, in the absence of war, the people in Japan experienced the abundance of peace and prosperity more than ever in their history during the second-half of the 20th century. She described the work of the Global Article 9 Campaign to resist pressure to amend Japan's Article 9 and to promote peace constitutions in other countries.
Based on the work carried out with Costa Rican partners (notably the holding of an international conference on peace constitutions and their links with Article 26 of the UN Charter, which calls for the establishment of a system for the regulation of armaments with the least diversion of the world's human and economic resources for armaments in order to promote the establishment and maintenance of international peace and security), Narae Lee and Costa Rica Disarmament Ambassador Ana Teresa Dengo demonstrated how peace clauses such as Article 9 in Japan and Article 12 in Costa Rica have acted as important regional mechanisms. Moreover, in the case of Costa Rica, it has inspired other countries and regional groupings, such as Ecuador, Bolivia and the Union of South American Nations, to follow the same path by adopting peace clauses.
In addition to the Global Article 9 Campaign and the many regional and global peace initiatives carried out by Costa Rica promoting peace constitutions and military spending reduction, the session presented Religions for Peace's "Arms Down! Campaign for Shared Security." Launched in 2009 by the global youth network of RfP, the world's first youth-led, multi-religious disarmament campaign is rooted in the notion of shared security - a new political paradigm that echoes the holistic notions of peace that are found in the world's great religions and recognizes each person's vulnerability as an invitation to approach others with compassion.
"Peace will not descend on the city and state, and our problems disappear" because of the conference, Mayor of Newark Cory A. Booker realistically stated. But the thousands of people who attended the conference certainly left inspired by the ideas and initiatives sparked by the summit, motivated to add their contribution to peace at home and globally.
Find more information about the Newark Peace Education Summit here.
|"POSSIBLE ELEMENTS FOR A DRAFT DECLARATION ON THE RIGHT TO PEACE"
At the request of the Human Rights Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recently distributed a questionnaire to facilitate consultations among all stakeholders, including Members States and civil society, in the context of the international consultations undertaken by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on "possible elements for a Draft Declaration on the Right to Peace".
Seizing this unique opportunity to assist the Advisory Committee in its work towards the codification of the right to peace, 1791 NGOs, global civil society networks and cities worldwide, including the Global Article 9 Campaign, actively participated in this consultation process.
Coordinated by the International Observatory on the Human Right to Peace (IOHRP) and the Spanish Society for the International Human Rights Law (SSIHRL), a joint reply to the questionnaire was submitted on May 2, 2011 to the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.
The thorough joint response to the questionnaire provides a wide range of comments on the Advisory Committee's draft progress report of March 2011 and proposes a set of recommendations towards a revised version of the report to be submitted to the 17th session of the Human Rights Council, including further elements and standards that the civil society would like to be included as part of the document.
These include the incorporation of additional references and new language ranging from the implementation of a system of permanent monitoring and control on production and trade of arms, including conventional arms; to the devotion of resources freed by disarmament to be allocated to economic and social development of peoples; and a gender approach to peace education and to the right to development.
The joint reply notably suggests elaborating on the role national constitutions can play, and have played, as a "mechanism to enhance the human right to peace".
Naming the 105 states across the five regions of the world that currently include the value of peace in their constitutions, the document draws special attention to the texts of the Constitutions that have "explicitly recognized peace as a fundamental right of peoples and individuals" and insists on the need to "include, elaborate and strengthen the right to peace in national Constitutions". Citing the precedents set by Nepal, the Solomon Islands and Costa Rica, it further recommends the creation of Ministries and Departments of Peace at local, regional and national levels.
The document also invites the Advisory Committee to look into good practices towards recognizing the right to peace as a legal and justiciable right, set forth by law-cases in Japan, Costa Rica and the Republic of Korea.
The joint response to the questionnaire calls on the Human Right Council to extend the mandate of the Advisory Committee to draft a declaration on the human right to peace during its next session in June 2011, and recommends that the Advisory Committee include a monitoring body to be part of the draft declaration on the human right to peace to be submitted to the Human Right Council. Such a monitoring body should take the form of a Working Group on the Human Right to Peace, composed of 10 experts appointed by the General Assembly.
Constitutions explicitly recognizing peace as a fundamental right:
-Article 10.1 of the Constitution of the Multinational Republic of Bolivia: "Bolivia is a pacifist State, which promotes the culture of peace and the right to peace...";
- Preamble of the Constitution of Japan: "... we recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want...";
- Article 22 of the Constitution of Colombia: "peace is a right and a duty whose compliance is mandatory".
Non-military constitutional clauses:
- Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan: "aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes..." ;
- Article 12 of the Constitution of Costa Rica: "the army as a permanent institution is abolished....";
- Article 310 of the Constitution of Panama: "the Republic of Panama will not have army".
The joint reply to the questionnaire "on possible elements for a Draft Declaration on the Right to Peace" can be downloaded here.
Read more about the work of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee on the Right to Peace here.
For information about the international campaign on the Human Right to Peace, visit the Spanish Society for the International Human Rights Law's website here.
NORTHEAST ASIA REGIONAL PEACEBUILDING INSTITUTE - APPLICATIONS DEADLINE COMING UP
The first training programme of the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute (NARPI) will be held in Seoul and the DMZ in August, 2011.
Through NARPI, participants from Northeast Asia will receive training peacebuilding in areas including conflict transformation, restorative justice, and mediation. These training programs also seek to build relationships between people from different parts of the region and to seek transformative and positive approaches to conflict and cultural differences.
NARPI is working to strengthen and empower people in Northeast Asia through providing peacebuilding training and building cross-cultural networks. Northeast Asia is a region of historical, territorial, military and nuclear tensions. Today many human and financial resources are dedicated to the militarization of Northeast Asian nations. Transforming the existing culture of animosity and militarism into a culture of peace and reconciliation can be possible through education and a fundamental paradigm shift. However a void exists in the area of education and training opportunities where people can be empowered with the skills, knowledge and resources needed to bring about this change.
This is why NARPI is such a necessary institute for this region, to provide vital training in conflict transformation and peacebuilding. The idea of NARPI was born from the needs and demands of activists and students working in the field of peacebuilding in Northeast Asia. NARPI is made up of partners from throughout the region, and will train students primarily from the area.
NARPI's first training will be held in Seoul and the DMZ, Korea from August 16-28, 2011. Course topics include peace education, restorative justice, peacebuilding skills development and trauma awareness and response.
For full details including course outlines, application forms (due by May 31) as well as information on available NARPI scholarships, see the website here.
Thank you for your interest in and support for the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War.
Celine Nahory, International Coordinator
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War / Peace Boat