[Korea-Japan Civic Groups’ Joint Statement]
The announcement at the end of late April made by the Constitutional Examination Committee, composed of Japan’s House of Councilors and Representatives, has stepped up the controversy over constitutional amendment. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), leading player in constitutional revision, is working faster to prepare an independent constitutional amendment draft by this coming November. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the main opposition party, and the Komeito Party, a coalition partner, are also going along with the current of revision.
The LDP have argued for the necessity of the militarization of the Self-Defense Force of Japan, the right to collective self-defense and even use of the threat of force towards other countries. The draft framed by the New Constitution Foundation Committee on August 1 includes the deletion of Article 9 Clause 2, which prohibits the use of military force, the change of the designation ‘Self-Defense Force’ to ‘Self-Defense Military’, and the permission of the use of force against foreign countries. The draft also allows for approval of collective self-defense.
Therefore, today, we, Korean and Japanese civic groups are taking a firm stand against the abolition and nullification of Article 9 of Japan’s pacifist constitution.
First, the retrogressive revision of Article 9 means a violation of the commitment to the people of Asia. Article 9 of the Constitution, which renounces the sovereign right to wage war and maintain military capability, may just seem like a provision that was imposed on Japan as a result of its defeat in World War II, but it can also be seen as a historical commitment that Japan made to East Asians to never again become a warring nation. Retrogressively revising Article 9 in this way is tantamount to breaking this promise to East Asians.
Second, the retrogressive revision of Article 9 will destroy peace and trust in Northeast Asia. Japan’s pacifist constitution has acted as a means for keeping, even though instability, at least a minimal relationship of trust between post-war Japan and the other Northeast Asian countries. However, this movement towards constitutional revision will bolster the conservative swing in Japanese society, strengthen the US-Japan military alliance and fuel the competition for armament in Northeast Asia.
Third, the move to revise Article 9 is tied up with the forces that glorify Japan’s history of invasion. As shown by the distortion of history textbooks, the regressive rightist current, with its distortion and glorification of Japan’s Second World War history, is urging on the revision of the constitution. This is also the reason that Korea and other Asian countries voice concerns about Japan’s shift towards constitutional amendment.
Forth, Article 9 is an asset in building-up a Northeast Asian peace community. The disarmament pacifism contained in Article 9 should pave the way for a Northeast Asian peace community that respects democracy and human rights. Also, it should be regarded as a precious asset for establishing through disarmament a new peaceful order and overcoming Northeast Asia’s military tension that is brought on by the politics of US-centered military alliances.
Japanese political and pro-revision forces should understand that a great number of peace-loving people in Asia and Japan see the historical truth of an aggressive war waged in the name of self-defense. Further, they must know that the people of Asia are demanding that Japan make a great contribution to the international community by protecting Article 9 and remaining a peaceful nation.
Lastly, we reiterate that we will bring together the strong desire for peace of the Japanese and other citizens of East Asia to widen solidarity for the protection of Article 9 and maintenance of peace in East Asia.
August 18, 2005
Korea-Japan Civic Groups
(total 30 organizations from GPPAC Korea and GPPAC Japan)