Japan's Remarkable "No War" Constitutional Article under Strong Attack
After the end of World War II, the Japanese constitution, written in part by the United States for the defeated Japanese nation, rejected war as a solution for conflict. The Preamble to the Japanese constitution recognized the Japanese government's brutal actions in Asia during World War II...
"...We resolve that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government ... We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time and are deeply conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship, and we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth. We recognize that all people of the world have the right to live in peace, fee from fear and want."
Article 9 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."
Two weeks ago I was in Osaka, Japan, as an international speaker at the Article 9 "No War" conference. I was also in Japan five years ago in 2008 at a similar conference, when George Bush was President of the United States and was undermining the spirit and intent of Article 9 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.
One of President Bush's chief advisors, former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage had complained that "Japan's Article 9 is an impediment to the US-Japanese alliance," an alliance the Bush administration wanted 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 did provide ships for resupplying American warships and logistic transport aircraft to fly supplies into Baghdad. A 2008 decision by the High Court of Nagoya found that Japanese Air Self-Defense Force missions into Iraq were unconstitutional as they violated Article 9.
Obama Administration Wants Japan to "Re-examine" legal basis for Article Nine
Five years later it is Barack Obama who is President of the United States, but the demand from the United States government has not changed -- that Japan "modify" Article 9 and end its renunciation of war.
On October 3, 2013, the United States and Japan issued a "Joint Statement of the Security Consultative Committee: Toward a More Robust alliance and Greater Shared Responsibilities."
In the document, the United States "welcomes" the Abe government's "re-examining the legal basis for its security including the matter of exercising its right of collective self-defense...." In other words, find a way to eliminate Article 9 that will then allow Japan to have a military policy that does not preclude its participation in wars of aggression.
The document puts countries in the region on edge, China, North Korea and even South Korea by touting the U.S. commitment for Japan's security through nuclear, as well as conventional, military capabilities, by welcoming the Abe government's "determination to contribute more proactively to regional and global peace," and by announcing that the United States will strengthen its military involvement in the region. Japan and the United States state that their alliance must be ready to deal with "persistent and emerging threats to peace and security" including "coercive and destabilizing behaviors in the maritime domain, disruptive activities in space and cyberspace; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), man-made and natural disasters and North Korea's nuclear and missile programs."
The statement also calls for "encouragement of China to play a responsible and constructive role in regional stability and prosperity, to adhere to international norms of behavior, as well as to improve openness and transparency in its military modernization with its rapid expanding military investments."
America's Military Pivot toward Asia and the Pacific
With President Obama's military "pivot" of the United States toward Asia, the government of the United States is putting a heavy hand on the Japanese government to pay even more for the United States defending its security. Japan currently pays the U.S. over $2 billion for the U.S. bases and military personnel stationed in Japan. In effect, the Japanese government is subsidizing the U.S. military.
American military exercises and deployment of strategic military equipment in Asia and the Pacific has increased substantially as the war on Iraq ended and the war on Afghanistan winds down.