Friends and Supporters of Article 9,
are pleased to send you some information about the Global Article 9
Campaign to Abolish War's recent activities and related developments.
REFLECTING ON THE FIRST FIVE YEARS OF THE GLOBAL ARTICLE 9 CAMPAIGN
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.
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.
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.
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.
JAPAN'S THREE NON-NUCLEAR PRINCIPLES: FROM POLICY TO REALITY
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
background information on the issue, please read the article that appeared in
the July 2009 edition of this newsletter, here.
NEPAL'S CONSTITUTION: PROPOSAL FOR A NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE ZONE CLAUSE
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
This article is based on Professor Achin Vanaik's piece that appeared in the Kathmandu Post. Read the full article here.
| EASING JAPAN'S ARMS EMBARGO?
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
Outline (NDPO). The Task Force is expected to present its conclusions
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.
| Newsletter Editor:
Celine Nahory, International Coordinator
Jay Gilliam, Intern
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War / Peace Boat