Japanese People Still Say "No More War"
After the end of World War II, the Japanese Constitution, written by
the United States for the defeated Japanese, rejected war as a solution
for conflict. Article Nine states: "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. In order
to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air
forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The
right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."
Now, 61 years later, the Bush administration is undermining
the spirit and intent of Article Nine of the Japanese Constitution by
urging the Japanese government to allow the Japanese Self-Defense
Forces to provide air and sea logistics assistance to Bush's war on
Iraq. Former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage in 2004
complained, "Article Nine is an impediment to the US-Japanese
alliance," an alliance the Bush administration wants to use to spread
the financial and military operational burden of the war on Iraq.
Over the objections of many Japanese citizens, the
Japanese government has provided limited numbers of refueling ships for
resupplying American warships and logistic transport aircraft that fly
supplies into Baghdad. A recent decision by the High Court of Nagoya
found that Japanese Air Self-Defense Force missions into Iraq were
unconstitutional as they violated Article Nine.
Eighty percent of the Japanese people want their government
to retain their constitutional rejection of war and they are organizing
to protect Article Nine. In every city and village in Japan, there is
an Article Nine committee that meets frequently to educate the public
on the need to retain Article Nine, as it has played an important role
in establishing trust relationships between Japan and the Asia-Pacific
region. According to the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed
Conflict, Article Nine is of critical importance for the prevention of
conflict and is the "foundation for collective security for the entire
On May 3, Japanese Constitution Day, tens of thousands of
Japanese in Tokyo gathered for a rally and march to protect Article
Nine. On May 4, over 8,000 Japanese attending the Global Article Nine
Conference to Abolish War listened to speakers from all over the world,
including Americans Cora Weiss of the Hague Appeal for Peace, US Army
conscientious objector Aidan Delgado and myself, a former US Army
colonel and a diplomat who resigned in opposition to the Iraq war, all
of whom urged the Japanese people to continue to reject participation
in war. 1976 Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire called for
nations of the world to look toward the Japanese Constitution as a
model for preventing armed conflict.
Japanese citizens remembering World War II, as Americans
citizens today, know the slippery slope of offensive military actions
for political and/or economic objectives. The Bush administration's
decision to invade and occupy - without the authorization of the
collective international community through the United Nations Security
Council - the oil-rich, Arab, Muslim country of Iraq, reminds the
Japanese of their invasion of resource-rich countries of Asia 70 years
ago. Those actions resulted in a moral, ethical and legal crisis for
Japan, as similar actions over the past five years by the United States
have brought our country to national crisis.
Many Japanese government officials were tried for war crimes for their actions during World War II.
Holding officials of the American government accountable for
their illegal actions in Iraq, for torture and for illegal imprisonment
of thousands of innocent men, women and children, is the next step in
American and international determination to end illegal wars of choice,
and holding those responsible who chose to use bullets rather than
For more information on the Global Article Nine Conference to Abolish War, see www.whynot9.jp/index_en.html.
About the Author:
US Army Reserve Colonel, Retired, Ann Wright is a 29-year veteran of
the Army and Army Reserves. She was also a US diplomat in Nicaragua,
Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia,
Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the US Department of State
in March 19, 2003, in opposition to the Iraq War. She is the co-author
of "Dissent: Voices of Conscience."