Inter-Religious Conference on War-Renouncing Article 9
Monday, November 26, 2007 Posted: 10:08 AM JST
An inter-religious conference on Article 9 will be held at Korean YMCA Hotel in Tokyo on November 29 and 30. Portions of this conference will be open to the public. There will be a keynote presentation by Ms.Takako Doi (former chief of the Social Democratic Party in Japan), panel discussions on the praxis of non-violence and peace, Article 9 and the militarized world, as well as a concert with singers Rattlesnake Annie and Noriko Shintani.
The latest newsletter of the National Christian Council in Japan provides detailed information about this conference on page 6. This issue includes news on support for justice and healing of Japanese imperial military sexual slaves, the so-called "comfort women," and dialogue with activists from Korea, China, and the Philippines.
Leading up to the Second World War, almost all Protestant and Catholic Christians in Japan were coercively co-opted into Japan's militarist wartime government, thereby lending religious legitimation to the regime's religion-patriotic "State Shinto" agenda.
Remorse and rectification regarding this wartime collaboration has fueled a passionate peace activism among Japanese Christian organizations and individuals.
Japanese Christians, often in inter-faith partnerships, have been among the most vocal leaders in Second World War reconciliation efforts and peace activism in Japan. In recent years, Japanese Christians have especially challenged the U.S. and Japanese governments attempts to undo the Peace Constitution and remilitarize Japan.
The NCCJ newsletter provides background on the Washington-Tokyo re-militarist agenda and the Asian interfaith religious community's response:
Japan is accelerating a process of radical change in its involvement in war. From being a country that collaborates and supports war, Japan is becoming a country that can wage war. This transformation is intimately connected to the global realignment of the U.S. defense strategy. The ongoing transformation and realignment of the U.S. military presence in the Asia Pacific region with the objective to consolidate the defense structure of the Arc on instability from East Europe, Middle East, India to East Asia is the greatest since the Korean War according to the Pentagon. The bilateral agreement reached in Tokyo in May 2006 further concretized this role of Japan. The transfer of the global headquarters of the First Army from Washington State to Camp Zama near Tokyo, where the SDF (Self Defense Forces of Japan) will also establish the headquarters of a Ground SDF Central Readiness Force Command, indicates the perspective for the unification of the U.S. forces in Japan and the SDF...
The military expenditures of Japan is equivalent to that of the US, Russia, and China, and it is clear that Japan would become a threat to peace and security in Asia and the Pacific if Article 9 were eliminated...
In recent years...laws such as those on the "Hinomaru" (national flag), "Kimigayo" (national anthem), wiretapping, and emergency legislation were set in place. In addition to the Diet's passing the amendment to the Fundamental Law on Education, which is centered on patriotic education, the Japanese government has been in the process of changing the constitution, particularly targeting Article 9. The Diet on May 14, 2007, passed into law a controversial national referendum bill for constitutional amendments...
In light of these dangerous moves in Japan, we cannot remain a passive spectator of this situation. We, the religious community, will affirm the realization of peace by nonviolence and will act on the basis of our faith. We will further tackle the urgent tasks of keeping and putting life into Article 9 with people throughout the world. We now send a message on Article 9 of Japan's Peace Constitution to all people in Asia and the world in order to promote "Peace and Nonviolence" and this call to hold an "Asia Inter-religious Conference on Article 9."
About 50 participants from churches and ecumenical organizations throughout Asia will be participating, insuring the inclusion and participation of diverse voices from different religions and regions.
-- Nov. 29 (Thu) 10:50 a.m.: Keynote presentation Ms.Takako Doi (former chief of the Social Democratic Party in Japan)
-- Nov. 30 (Fri) 9:15 a.m.: Panel discussions on the praxis of non-violence and peace
-- Nov. 30 (Fri) afternoon: Panel discussion on Article 9 and the militarized world
-- Nov. 30 (Fri) 7:00 p.m.: Concert with Rattlesnake Annie and Noriko Shintani
Thursday & Friday, November 29 - November 30, 2007
Location: Korean YMCA Hotel in Tokyo, Japan
For details, please contact Toshi Yamamoto by E-mail: tynccj [at] aol [dot] com
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