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May 2008
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War

Newsletter #6
In This Issue
Plenary conference
Sympoiums, panels and workshops
Closing ceremony
Press conference and media coverage
Looking ahead
Article 9 Links
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War

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Dear Friends and Supporters of Article 9,

We are pleased to dedicate this edition of the newsletter to give you an initital report about the Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War, which took place from May 4-6.


The conference was a success. Well over 30,000 participants attended the events taking place throughout Japan, including more than 22,000 in Tokyo alone, about 1,100 people in Hiroshima, 2,500 in Sendai, and 8,000 in Osaka, exceeding by far our greatest expectations. Among them were about 200 international guests coming from nearly 40 countries and regions and representing all continents.

plenarySuch high numbers 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.

Plenary conference (May 4)

Mairead Corrigan MaguireIn an arena filled to its limit, speakers made outstanding presentations, taking the public into palpable emotion and inspiring them with their own powerful experiences. Because more participants than the venue's capacity could take came on the day, an alternate event was improvized for the 3,000+ people unable to enter the main venue in the neighboring park, where keynote speakers Mairead Maguire and Cora Weiss, as well as Yoshioka Tatsuya gave speeches. The day ended with live concerts and artistic performances.

Symposiums, panels and workshops (May 5)

symposiumThematic discussions and debates were held throughout the second day. Again, more participants than expected (about 7,000) attended the the 12 symposiums, panel discussions and workshops, the more than two dozen self-organized events, and the many movies and music performances. Experts in different fields shared their experience, 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 that do not rely on force

Closing Ceremony (May 6)

Reports from symposiums and sessions gave a brief overview of the wide-ranging scope of the debate and the depth to which different aspects of it were discussed.

closing ceremony

To read initial reports, see:     

Outcome documents of the conference were issued, including the final declaration of the conference. Drafted through a participatory process which involved all official guests and the over 200 Japanese members of the 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.

To read the Global Article 9 Declaration to Abolish War, see:

In 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.

To read the statement to the NPT PrepCom, see:

To read the G8 statement, see:

Finally, high profile guests who unfortunately were unable to join the conference at the last minute, such as former International Court of Justice Judge Christopher G. Weeramantry, UN Chief of the ECOSOC NGO Section Hanifa Mezoui, sent messages of support to the conference that were shared with the over 300 people present.

Press conference and media coverage

A press conference was held following the closing ceremony. Japanese media covered the event extensively and favorably. Several articles have been published in English as well, both in Japanese newspapers and internationally.

Here are a few articles in English:

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 conference (Japan 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)

Looking ahead

Now it is time to start reflecting on what was achieved at the conference and how to push the campaign forward.

peaceMany 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. Like in 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 inspired and willing to bring back the principles enshrined in Article 9 and spread them abroad.

Some even raised the idea of holding another Global Article 9 Conference in a couple of years from now. Costa Rican lawyer Carlos Vargas proposed holding pre-conference events at different places, including in his country which also constitutionally renounced war.

Most important is to keep the momentum built through the conference and translate the ideas formulated into actions.

Thank you to all the speakers, participants, volunteers and supporters without which the conference could not have taken place.

We look forward to continue working with you all.

In Peace,

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.