Friends and Supporters of Article 9,
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.
GLOBAL ARTICLE 9 CONFERENCE
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.
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
|Plenary conference (May 4)
In 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
|Symposiums, panels and workshops (May 5)
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)
symposiums and sessions gave a brief overview of the wide-ranging
scope of the debate and the depth to which different aspects of it
read initial reports, see:
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:
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:
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
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.
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)
Now it is
time to start reflecting on what was achieved at the conference and
how to push the campaign forward.
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.
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.
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.
forward to continue working with you all.
Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War / Peace Boat