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March 2010
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War

Newsletter #26
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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.


The Global Article 9 Campaign is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year! During that time, the Campaign has been successfully promoting peace constitutions and advocating for the abolition of war in Japan and around the world. To commemorate this fifth anniversary, throughout this year we will be looking back on the start of the Global Article 9 Campaign and how it has changed since 2005.


Kawasaki Akira - Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish WarBelow is the excerpt of an interview on the Campaign's beginnings and evolution with Kawasaki Akira, Executive Committee Member of Peace Boat and Secretary General of the Japan Organizing Committee of Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War held in May 2008.


Question: How did the idea of the campaign emerge?


Kawasaki: The campaign began in 2005, I remember, at the occasion of the global conference of the NGO network the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict. It is an international NGO network starting from 2002 and focusing on how to prevent armed conflict and how to shape the focus in the security debate from reaction of the conflict to prevention of the conflict. In that, global NGOs and Northeast Asian NGOs gathered and discussed ways to prevent armed conflicts, and in that discussion, many groups that participated from outside of Japan recognized the value of the Japanese Article 9 in that character of non-militarism, non-violence, and the action agenda adopted by the network formally recognized the value of Article 9 as the foundation of Asia/Pacific peace. I was part of that process, and we Japanese members were so inspired in the discussion, because usually we thought that Article 9 was a domestic, legal, political issue. But it was a fresh experience for us to hear very positive remarks about our Article 9 from the international and global scope. So, inspired by that, we discussed with colleagues, especially in Northeast Asia, neighboring countries, and NGO groups and launched that campaign.


Question: Initially, what were the core mission, issues and goals of the Campaign?


Kawasaki: Very simply: globalizing Article 9. The concept of Article 9 was the core mission. To make Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution known to the people of the world, literally known to the people in the world, was one mission. Also, to share its spirit, for example, peaceful settlement of disputes and peaceful prevention of disputes. And also shifting resource allocation from military to human needs and highlighting the rights to live in peace. And, lastly, creating international peace mechanisms made from non-military ways. Those concepts and spirits we shared and implemented by countries in the world. That's the core mission.


Question: How has the Campaign evolved and changed since its inception?


Kawasaki: I think at the starting point it was a very Asia/Pacific focused initiative. But as time goes by and as it progresses, especially in the process of having the Article 9 conference in 2008, where nearly 200 participants from more than 40 countries gathered, it has become truly global and not limited to an Asia/Pacific focus. In the Asia/Pacific focus, the discussion tends to become how to curb Japanese militarization. It is one very important point. But by having, let's say Latin American participation or European participation or even African participation, the scope became really diverse and deep and really global.


Question: Why do you think it is important to focus on peace constitutions? 


Kawasaki: Because it's getting more and more relevant in the contemporary world. Because we see increasing failures by traditional militaristic approaches to solutions to the world. Look at Iraq. Look at Afghanistan. All of those, or the War on Terror. Nearly a decade has passed since the US start of the War on Terror, but we see increases of the terrorism, increases of the violence. So, the people are realizing that this approach is not the best solution and more and more military spending is questionable, especially in light of this serious economic recession. So, as an alternative to this political and economic trend in the first decade of the 21st century, having a peace constitution is important not from a legal perspective but rather for presenting an alternative to the political and economic system of the world. 


Question: When you talk about peace constitutions, what do you mean? 


Kawasaki: It's a very broad concept, but any constitution that refers to peace can be said to be a peace constitution. Some people in Japan say that the Japanese peace constitution is the peace constitution because, it's true that the Japanese peace constitution is very strict because it does not allow use of force in general. For example, when we look at the Ecuadorian constitution, it is talking about the ban of foreign military bases, but not its own military base. Its own military base is allowed. Or for example, if we talk about the Italian constitution, Article 11 refers to the non-aggression, and Korean constitution also refers to non-aggression, so it is similar to (Japan's) Article 9.1, which refers to non-aggression. But we have section 2 of renouncing armed forces. So, some people criticize Italian or Korean's (as) really limited, but I would say that all of those should be included as peace constitutions and should be diverse versions and all united as, you can say, peace constitutions. 


Question: With that said, do you have an ideal type of peace constitution, and if you do, what is it? 


Kawasaki: My sense is that I don't want to have such kind of legal approach, because I think the peace constitution process is important. I think each constitution should have some shortages. Maybe the Japanese is very good in the text, but the biggest shortage in the Japanese constitution is the gap with the reality, as you know. So, it's very easy to criticize the Japanese constitution from that perspective. Even pointing out that gap, I still see the value in the Japanese constitution. How to broaden that class style or compilation of fragmented constitutions where each of them has shortages. Broadening them as an international movement to increase and deepen the peace constitution is very important, so I don't want to take such an approach to identify or define the best peace constitution.


Question: Ok, so what should be the minimum traits or characteristics of a peace constitution? 


Kawasaki: The minimum characteristics should be to deny or to seriously doubt militaristic approach(es) to the problems of the country or the problems of the world. That's the minimum part. 

This interview is part of a series of interviews with leaders, supporters, and conference 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 enrolled in a Master's Program in Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution at International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan.



Shortly after getting into power, the Democratic Party of Japan established a panel of investigation to look into the alleged secret deals between Japan and the US during the Cold War.


Established at the initiative of Foreign Minister Okada Katsuya, the expert panel has looked into both formal agreements and undeclared arrangements, including those considered violating Japan's Three Non-Nuclear Principles (or policy of not possessing or producing nuclear weapons or allowing them on its territory).


Over 300 declassified Japanese documents substantiate details of the bilateral security arrangements, regarding issues such as the use of US bases without prior consultation with Tokyo if a crisis on the Korean Peninsula arose and about covering the costs of Okinawa's return to Japanese rule, as well as the tacit approval of entry into Japanese territory for US ship carrying nuclear weapons.


Though the scandal has long been exposed by other sources, notably through declassified US documents, it is the first time that Japan officially acknowledges the facts.


In its final report, the panel states that Tokyo and Washington "intentionally" avoided raising the question of prior consultation ahead of a US ship visit into Japanese ports, despite Japan's official position of the contrary, in order to ease bilateral relations.


The report concludes "the Japanese government offered dishonest explanations, including lies, from beginning to end. This attitude should not have been allowed under the principle of democracy."


Associations of victims of the atomic bombs reacted strongly to the panel's conclusions, expressing regrets that the government has deceived atomic-bomb survivors. In Hiroshima, the head of Nihon Hidankyo (Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organization) said: "As the government of the only country to have suffered atomic bombings, I must say it is pathetic. The state must apologize to the people for lying to them."


Furthermore, the panel's report deplored the fact that a number of key documents were missing. In order to circumvent rumors the Foreign Ministry ordered to destroy documents related to the secret nuclear deal, the panel called for a public investigation on the issue, as well as for the establishment of procedures for declassifying documents and managing diplomatic papers. A new law is expected to be passed, which will define official documents as "intellectual resources shared by the people that support the very foundation of sound democracy."


Earlier, Prime Minister and DPJ President Hatoyama Yukio pledged his government would stick to the policy of not possessing or producing nuclear weapons or allowing them on its territory regardless of the panel's conclusions. Voices are now calling for the codification of Japan's Three Non-Nuclear Principles into law. "We strongly demand that the state abide by the principles as a national creed and work harder toward nuclear abolition," declared Hiroshima Governor Yuzaki Hidehiko.


For background information on the issue, please read the article that appeared in the July 2009 edition of this newsletter, here.


Political tensions are rising in Nepal with the increasing likelihood that the proclamation of a new Constitution will be postponed for the tenth times due to procedural delays and disagreement over key constitutional questions.


"Nepal remains suspended at a delicate point along the nation's journey from war to peace," warned UN Secretary General Lynn Pascoe during his visit to Kathmandu earlier this month. Indeed, the country's new constitution is expected to seal the peace process that followed the mass protests of 2006.


The current political stand-off is exacerbated by growing rivalry for influence in Nepal between the major and regional powers-particularly between nuclear India and China.


It is in this context that Professor Achin Vanaik, leading analyst on democracy and security issues in South Asia and renowned specialist on nuclear weapons, is proposing that Nepal "constitutionally establish[es] itself as a single state nuclear weapons free zone" (NWFZ).


In an article in the Kathmandu Post, Vanaik explains the value and impact of such constitutional move.


"First, it would be a positive anti-nuclear message in itself. It would legitimize the introduction of this concept into South Asia to be promoted and proposed for other parts of the sub-continent e.g., a NWFZ covering both parts of Kashmir across the border."


With tensions among nuclear India and Pakistan next door, as well as Chinese and Indian rivalry for influence over the country, Nepal's move would send "a serious anti-militarist message to much more powerful and nuclearized neighbours."


Vanaik's proposal looks at Mongolia as an interesting precedent. Indeed, it is the only other country to have declared itself a 'single state nuclear weapons free zone', thus calling for legal recognition of status by Nuclear Weapons States (or NWSs: the US, Russia, China, UK and France) - and "politically demanding a legal expression of sorts of peaceful and non-militarist behaviour by NWSs."


At the regional level, such a move by Kathmandu would take advantage of local rivalries (among India and Pakistan on the one hand, as well as between India and China) and push these countries to sign external protocols of recognition of Nepal's NWFZ. According to Vanaik, "the move towards constitutionally establishing Nepal as a single state NWFZ is fully within its power. No outside country, no matter how powerful, can stop it from doing this."


As the deadline for adopting a new constitution is nearing, Vanaik's proposal has been taken to Nepalese highest authorities. Strong of its own peace constitution, a Japanese delegation was to meet with Nepal's president this month to deliver the proposal for a NWFZ clause.


The Global Article 9 Campaign joins Vanaik's call on Nepali progressives to "look to learn from the Mongolian example (...) and at the very least put this issue on the political and constitutional agenda for serious consideration."


This article is based on Professor Achin Vanaik's piece that appeared in the Kathmandu Post. Read the full article here.


The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported earlier in March that the Japanese government is considering to allow the sale of weapons, which would weaken Japan's current strong stance against weapons exports.

The recommendation to Prime Minister Hatoyama to ease the state's current weapons exports ban has come from the Ministry of Defense. The ministry argues the ease would help the sale of equipment related to humanitarian purposes and offer the defense industry a boost in sales.

Since 1967 Japan has had a limited ban on weapons exports and has had a near-total ban on arms since 1976. Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, Japan's leader at that time, initially banned arms exports in 1967, which was later followed by the near-total ban in 1976 by Prime Minister Takeo Miki. Unfortunately, subsequent prime ministers  have weakened the weapons exports ban by introducing exceptions, notably by allowing export weapons technology to the United States in 1983 and joint development and production of missile defense with the US in 2004.

Today, Japan's Defense Ministry claims that the ease of the arms export embargo is meant for humanitarian purposes. The change of policy would allow the overseas shipment of defense-related equipment for humanitarian purposes only and not for military use. One piece of equipment that is currently banned but might be allowed to export under these proposed recommendations would be the US-2 amphibious aircraft which is used in sea emergency rescue operations from remote islands.

In addition to the humanitarian purpose of the ban ease,  the Defense Ministry acknowledges that easing the policy would also help lift the state's defense industry. They believe that the arms embargo and its three basic principles have weakened the defense industry in Japan and would like to provide a boost to it-essentially allowing Japan to shift more resources to the defense industry. The Defense Ministry recommends relabeling some defense-related equipment for purely civilian uses, thereby masking their defense-related uses and providing another way to circumvent the weapons exports ban principles.

Japan's ban on arms exports has never been codified into law and can thus be reversed by a cabinet decision. The Defense Ministry's call for an ease of the policy comes at a time when a government-mandated panel, known as the "Task Force on Security and Defense Capabilities in the New Era", is reviewing the National Defense Program Outline (NDPO). The Task Force is expected to present its conclusions before the end of the summer, and propose ways to revise the NDPO, including the ban on arms exports as part of it.

While advocates of the ban say that, by focusing on humanitarian aspects, the ease will not conflict with Miki's export ban principles that says weapons are "what the military uses and is provided for combat", it will nonetheless reverse Japan's long-standing policy of staying away from foreign military engagements and co-operation, and violate the spirit of Article 9 of the Constitution.

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


The Article 9 Team

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