2018: Article 9 Conference in Hiroshima
The 6th Global Inter-Religions Conference on Article 9
憲法9条による世界平和 ― 被爆地ヒロシマから －
World Peace through Article 9 - From Ground Zero Hiroshima
of the 6th Global Inter-religious Conference on Article 9
of the Japanese Peace Constitution
World Peace through Article 9
—From Ground Zero Hiroshima—
June 15, 2018
Article 9 of Japan’s Peace Constitution
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 a 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.
At this time, more than in the past, Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution offers a way to renounce the use of force and a hope for establishing a global peace on firm foundations. Since our 2016 meeting in Osaka, the world situation has alternated between despair and hope. The flood of information brought by the internet and other technologies has created a crisis as leaders and citizens alike struggle to separate fact from "alternative fact" and to determine truly authoritative sources of news, guidance and behavioral standards. In 2017, the United Nations adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons despite the best efforts of the nuclear weapons states and their allies to ignore, undermine or oppose the treaty. Over the course of the past year, the United States has withdrawn from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and has threatened "fire and fury" against North Korea unless it dismantles its nuclear arsenal. In April the leaders of North and South Korea met in Panmunjom and issued a joint declaration outlining concrete steps toward co-prosperity, peace and eventual reunification. Most recently, the leaders of North Korea and the United States met in Singapore and agreed to work together for peace while participants in the 6th Global Inter-religious Conference on Article 9 were gathering in Hiroshima, the city which first suffered the notorious atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. The evening before the formal opening of this Conference, participants gathered in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to share prayers and hopes for an end to war on the Korean peninsula and the success of negotiations aimed at disarming all parties to the Korean conflict.
We, the participants in the 6th Global Inter-religious Conference on Article 9 of the Japanese Peace Constitution, gathering 250 participants from Japan (including Koreans in Japani) South Korea, Mainland China, Hong Kong/PRC, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and the USA convened at the International Conference Center, Hiroshima. The previous Conferences on this theme were held in 2007 (Tokyo), 2009 (Seoul), 2011 (Okinawa), 2014 (Tokyo) and 2016 (Osaka). Many of those participants here also attended the 2012 conference in Fukushima, which focused on nuclear power generation and its dangers to humanity. In Hiroshima, we confess and repent our complicity in injustice and violence and we have renewed our compassion and our sense of urgency about nuclear abolition after hearing the stories of A-bomb survivors (Hibakusha).
(1) Article 9 is a pledge of peace towards East Asia and the world and a promise to never wage war again. Revising the Peace Constitution of Japan will bring about serious instability in the East Asia region. Japan should never be a threat to neighboring countries, nor should it become a destabilizing factor. We are deeply concerned that the Japanese government (Liberal Democratic Party & Komei Party) intends to revise and amend Article 9, which is a pledge of peace by renouncing war in the first paragraph and prohibiting Japan from possessing any "war potential" in the second paragraph. The Japanese government plan to clarify the Self Defense Force(SDF)’s legal status under Article 9 aims to open the way to send SDF abroad by not precluding Japan from taking “necessary” self-defense measures based on the laws of collective security legislated in September of 2015 despite most Japanese Constitutional scholars’ criticizing it as unconstitutional. We cannot help but say that the Japanese government’s aggressive policy to revise Article 9 moves in the opposite direction from diplomacy based on peaceful talks regarding the Korean Peninsula. The spirit of Article 9 should best be practiced in the diplomacy of peaceful talks towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We expect the peace process between the Koreas to encourage Article 9 actions, to protect constitutional democracy including Article 9 in Japan, and to be expanded towards establishing the regional nuclear-free zone in Northeast Asia.
(2)The Japanese Government and people need to squarely reflect upon, repent and apologizefor Japan’s history of invasion and colonialism in the first half of 20th century, and expressthis reflection clearly before the world. Genuine reflection upon them forms the foundation forpeace in the East Asia region. Not only should the government of Japan protect theConstitution, which is also the Japanese people’s promise of non-belligerence, but it shoulduphold previous-made official Government statements that reflect upon Japan’s pastinvasions and colonialism, such as the (Chief Cabinet Secretary) Kono Statement (1993),the (Prime Minister) Murayama Statement (1995) and the (Prime Minister) Kan Statement(2010). As a practical effect of that action, the verbal agreement about Japanese militarysexual slavery (euphemistically called “comfort women”) between the Abe government andthe Park Geun-hye government (2015-12-28) should be repealed, the general human rightscondition of the Korean people in Japan should be improved, and hate speech about themcan no longer be tolerated. Members of the administration should also not pay officialhomage visits to Yasukuni Shrine. It is Japan’s severe failure to have caused mistrust andtension between the Abe administration of Japan and the Moon administration of SouthKorea. It is urgently needed to halt the demonization of North Korea and to make efforts toabolish economic sanctions on North Korea.
(3)We welcome the dialogue and movement toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsulathat has been created in 2018 through the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration and theConcluding Statement of the June 12 Singapore Summit. Although various difficulties areenvisioned, we must never give up on resolution through dialogue. The evolution to a peacetreaty from the current armistice, in place since 1953, will end the Korean War and an era ofdivision and tension; we pray and hope this action will open a door to an era of peace,stability and prosperity in East Asia.
(4)The entire world, especially Northeast Asia, should be made a nuclear-weapons-free zone,with neighboring nuclear weapon states providing guarantees of Negative Safety Assurance (NSA). As proposed by Peace Depot, North and South Korea and Japan should prohibit the development, manufacture and deployment of nuclear weapons in each country while the relevant nuclear weapon states of Mainland China, Russia and the U.S.A. would provide NSA guarantee not to attack, or threaten to attack, the non-nuclear states with nuclear weapons. In order to build such a system of shared regional security, Six Party talks must be held to establish a series of confidence-building measures and regular, working-level dialogues that can build strong channels for communication and management of tensions.
(5)Regarding territorial disputes, we propose that the governments of all concerned partiesstrive to resolve these peacefully in accordance with the spirit of Article 9, through dialogueand diplomatic negotiation. We also call upon each country to refrain from the use orthreatened use of armed force as a means of settling such disputes. This contravenes theCharter of the United Nations and accepted international laws.
(6)The governments of Japan, South Korea and the United States should take action, withoutdelay, to mitigate the crushing burden of U.S. military bases placed on Korean andJapanese land such as the many bases in Okinawa, Iwakuni and Camp Humphreys inKorea. We demand the return of U.S. forces to the U.S. mainland. In particular, thewithdrawal of U.S. Marine forces from Japan and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense(THAAD) missile system from Sung Ju, Korea, are immediate priorities.
(7)We expect all countries in East Asia to overcome the temptations of nationalism andmilitarism by following the common teachings of our faiths that promote peace, Article 9 ofthe Japanese Constitution, and the Peace Treaty Campaign in Korea to constructrelationships based on the principles of no-war, reconciliation, equality, mutual respect, andmutual benefit. We believe that the chance for peace still exists in East Asia. We must notfan crises and turn them into war. In the face of every crisis, dialogue and negotiationshould be used to reduce the crisis and build trust and stability.
Participants of the 6th Global Inter-religious Conference on Article 9
June 15, 2018
International Conference Center Hiroshima
i Refers to people and their descendants who are originally from the Choson (Korean) Peninsula, but reside permanently in Japan as a result of Japan’s period of colonial rule over Choson, as well as other people with Korean roots who are living in Japan.