Think carefully, take your time, but don't take too long.
This is perhaps the most important part of this campaign. Action is very important. But action will only come when people have decided to do something about it. So I ask you to think about what is best, a world with Article 9 or a world without. Please note that you do not need to find a magical solution for world peace at this stage (although that might be helpful). When thinking about Article 9 you should decide if you are favor or against. Then, if you are sure, commit to what you believe in.
To get really motivated to protect Article 9 you also need to realize the urgency of this issue. There are many people that have only just started hearing about Article 9, others have been campaigning to change it for many years and few of us are active in promoting it. Please don't give up if you think that this task is too big. Small actions will lead to big changes. I can assure you that it is possible to protect, enforce and extend Article 9 around the world, and its down to us, no one else.
"That our country can participate again in the 'war against terror' truly has great significance," Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said in a prepared statement.
Japan's Constitution bars the country from employing military force in international disputes and prohibits it from having a military for warfare.
The government will be able to hold the referendum [on constitutional change] as early as 2010 under a bill approved by the upper house of Parliament. The lower house passed the bill.
Proposals for any amendments would have to be approved by two-thirds of both houses of Parliament and then by a majority of voters in a national referendum.
Not only does the amendment of Article 9 just constitutionally admit the presence of the Self-Defense Forces, it accepts Japan to exercise the right of collective defense, and also accepts the Self-Defense Forces to take military action in Iraq. Thus the amendment of Article 9 means changing Japanese society into a military-first society.
In addition, our current Constitution rules military conscription as unconstitutional, and even the recent Emergency Acts forbid forcing people to serve through penalizing. The amendment of Article 9 aims at enabling such things.
Few people realize that for over half a century, since the end of World War II, primarily because of just 73 words in Japan's Constitution, no person outside of Japan has been killed by Japanese soldiers.
Learning from the disastrous experiences of two world wars, the victors and the vanquished created new principles for international peace and justice, and gave them a home in Japan's Constitution. These principles were embodied in Article 9.
U.S. movie director John Junkerman said Article 9 represented Japan's apology to Asian countries for its war conduct and that renouncing it would be tantamount to taking back the apology.
Japanese advocates of constitutional amendment present an 1) amendment according to the procedure that the Constitution lays down, but falls short of being 2) an amendment which is premised on the existence of present Constitution. This is a big problem. Both points 1 and 2 must be satisfied in order to justify the Constitutional 'amendment'. Various people's current 'amendment' plans are not 'amendment' but creation of totally new constitution.
The law for the national referendum for constitutional amendment imposes drastic restrictions on freedom of speech. No political advertising will be permitted on radio or television during the two-week run-up to the referendum on proposed amendments. Worse yet, the law bans the nation’s schoolteachers from speaking out on the matter—as if a little learning were a dangerous thing when the nation contemplates its constitutional future. These restrictions have no place in a system based on the rule of the people.
The law bans public servants, including teachers, from participating in any debates over constitutional change.
The new law fails to require a minimum turnout before any constitutional referendum becomes valid. By tolerating massive political passivity and imposing silence on broad sectors of civil society, the law sets the stage for a parody of democratic politics.
By restricting free speech and not mandating a minimum voter turnout, the referendum law falls short of this key requirement.
Any attempt to repudiate Article Nine would generate large anxieties in the region, even if it is accompanied by flawless democratic procedures. But an effort by elites to ram repeal through a defective process will justifiably generate larger concerns about the future of Japanese democracy.
Japan has interpreted the Constitution to mean it can maintain a 240,000-strong Self-Defense Force.
On January 7, 2007, the Japan Defense Agency was upgraded to Ministry of Defense, a Cabinet-level ministry.
While changes to the military are technically in contravention of Article 9 - which forbids Japan from maintaining any armed forces at all - a Japanese government official said this would not mean that the article needed to be rewritten. It is all a question of interpretation.
In recent years, the Japanese government has passed special laws that have stretched the limits of the pacifist Constitution, allowing, for example, noncombat troops to operate in Iraq. The government also seeks to reinterpret the Constitution to let Japan engage in self-defense with the United States.
The Japanese government rammed through a special law Friday authorizing its navy to resume a refueling mission in the Indian Ocean as part of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
In 2004 the government decided to allow the export of missile defense-related parts to the United States.
Defense Agency Chief Yoshinori Ono said recently that the U.S. can export interceptor missiles incorporating Japanese technology to a third country. These steps will undermine the nation's long-standing export ban on weapons and weapons technology.
The revised Guidelines for Japan-US Defense Cooperation (1997) allow Japanese armies to break through the constitutional restriction and act as a regional police, thereby promoting its position in regional strategy, which poses a great threat to the security in the Asia-Pacific region.
On January 24, 1987 the cabinet abandoned the 1 percent GNP on military spending ceiling. A March 1987 Asahi Shimbun [Tokyo] poll indicated that this move was made in defiance of public opinion: only 15 percent approved the removal of the ceiling and 61 percent disapproved. But a January 1988 poll conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister reported that 58 percent approved the defense budget of 1.004 percent of GNP for fiscal year 1987.
Japan’s military has been rapidly crossing out items from its list of can’t-dos. The incremental changes, especially since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, amount to the most significant transformation in Japan’s military since World War II, one that has brought it ever closer operationally to America’s military while rattling nerves throughout northeast Asia.
South Korea reacted sharply to Japan’s desire to buy the F-22 Raptor. Also, in a recent ceremony unveiling South Korea’s first destroyer equipped with the advanced Aegis weapons system, President Roh Moo-hyun said, “Northeast Asia is still in an arms race, and we cannot just sit back and watch.”
In 1954, the Diet established a "Self-Defense Agency" which converted the "National Police Reserve" into the Ground, Maritime, and Air Self-Defense Forces. The original bill provided for a force of 150,000, but this number has been slowly expanded to 270,000
Washington has long backed constitutional change so that Japan could play a larger military role.
[The Self Defense Forces in Iraq] were playing a minimal role and their real purpose was to demonstrate Japan's commitment to the US. Two main reasons for this: as a kind of "painful insurance policy" taken out to win US protection against North Korea, and to bolster Japan's campaign for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
"While we understand that those forces are a burden on the people of Japan, we hope that the people of Japan understand that they are a burden on us as well," U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer on U.S. military bases in Japan.
Japan covers much of the cost of basing U.S. forces in Japan - about 238 billion yen in fiscal 2005.
The omoiyari budget of the 1997 financial year increased to 273.7 billion yen, 42 percent of the total 647.6 billion yen provided to U.S. forces from Japanese budget. Thanks to this omoiyari budget and others from the generous Japanese government, Assistant Secretary of State Lord testified before the Senate Foreign Relations, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in October 1995: "Japan offers greater financial support than all other alliances to U.S. forces. To stay in Japan is less expensive than to maintain these forces in the U.S."
It is widely believed that U.S. navy vessels transported nuclear weapons into Japan and stored them in U.S. bases. Does the Japanese government dare to require an inspection in accordance with its "three non-nuclear principles"? It does not dare to, but Okinawa Prefecture did require such an inspection in June 1994. U.S. forces refused any inspection by Japanese within U.S. bases.
Of the 314 square kilometers of military facilities monopolized by U.S. forces in Japan (there are another 670.6 square kilometers of joint facilities shared with the SDF), three fourths of the area, and two thirds of 45,000 U.S. troops, are located in Okinawa, Japan's smallest prefecture. U.S. bases occupy one third of Okinawa.
Mr. Hatoyama of the Democratic Party said that transporting armed American troops contravened Japan’s pacifist Constitution. “Instead of engaging in humanitarian assistance, they are basically assisting American troops,” he said. “American troops and the Air Self-Defense Forces are working as one, just as they are training as one in Guam.”
The House of Councilors enacted a special measures law in June 2007 designed to extend the Air Self-Defense Force's Iraq airlift mission by two years.
With nearly 240,000 military personnel and an annual budget of close to $50 billion, Japan's military outstrips Britain's in total spending and manpower, while its navy in particular scores high among experts for its sophistication.
Japan is acquiring weapons that blur the lines between defensive and offensive. For the Guam bombing run, Japan deployed its newest fighter jets, the F-2’s, the first developed jointly by Japan and the United States, on their maiden trip here.
Japan recently indicated strongly its desire to buy the F-22 Raptor, a stealth fighter known mainly for its offensive abilities such as penetrating contested airspace and destroying enemy targets, whose export is prohibited by United States law.
[Liberal Democratic Party as well as the Democratic Party] are trying to remake the Constitution into something that those in power make and demand its citizens to follow, instead of a set of conditions the citizens demand those in power to abide by. They are in fact trying to turn around the nature of the Constitution. There's no point in calling this a "Constitution" anymore. This is one of the biggest problems with the current constitutional reform debates.Japan Institute of Constitutional Law
The draft constitution also weakens provisions on the separation of church and state, saying public institutions may engage in religious activity...
The LDP's draft would also make it easier to amend the Constitution, requiring only majorities in both houses of Parliament to endorse a change instead of the current two-thirds.
In addition, our current Constitution rules military conscription as unconstitutional, and even the recent Emergency Acts forbid forcing people to serve through penalizing. The amendment of Article 9 aims at enabling such things. The reason why the amendment draft contains a provision that allows the restricting of human rights under the name of "common good and public order" is to enable the suppression of human rights for military order and national defense. In addition, the preamble of the Constitutional Amendment draft contains the term "patriotism", but they are putting the car before the horse when there is no provision to make it a duty to love one's country but there is a provision that makes it a citizen's duty to support and defend one's country. The Constitution was made to be a restrictive code to regulate state power, but paradoxically the amendment draft is a code that restricts its citizens.
In Japan, however, the issue has never been a simple one. For decades, a bitter fight raged between leftists, who viewed the war as an evil enterprise, and rightists, who saw it as a noble if mismanaged cause.
A slew of movies, novels and comics have appeared extolling the bravery of Japanese soldiers and sailors. Some junior high schools now use textbooks that brush over Japanese atrocities, but credit the war with ending Western colonial domination in Asia.
Yamato Museum ... exhibits describe how Japan built a modern navy to fend off greedy Western powers, while omitting mention of Japan's own colonies in Asia.
Professor Masatoshi Honda, from Japan's National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, on constitutional change with regard to the international community: "We don't need any pressure, we don't want to care so much about international circumstances, we don't want to care so much about US-Japan relations," he says. "The message to outsiders, if you like, is 'leave us alone, we will choose the right way'."
Moves to limit constitutional freedoms of thought and speech continue unabated in Japan. The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education has punished nearly 400 teachers who refused to obey its order to pay respect to the national flag and sing the national anthem at graduation and enrollment ceremonies.
The Article 9 Association has called the public to form pro-Article 9 groups in their communities, schools and workplaces so they can set up links between them to seek further support for the clause. Yoichi Komori, secretary general of the association, reported to the meeting that more than 6,800 like-minded groups have been established so far nationwide.
More than half of the winners in Sunday's upper house election are opposed to revising war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution and nearly half of them do not approve exercising the right to collective self-defense, a Kyodo News survey showed Wednesday.