The Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War was initiated by a coalition of individuals based in Japan, from a wide range of fields of expertise. Featured here is their joint statement , made to launch the planning of the Conference.

Article 9, in its simplest form, is the section of the Japanese Constitution that renounces war and restricts the use of armed force, laying a foundation of peace in Japan that has been unbroken for over 60 years. But beyond this, it is a global principle. Our interactions with citizens and NGOs in Asia and worldwide have led us to the firm conviction that Article 9 is the shared property of all the world’s citizens who wish for peace.

Article 9 was a vow, made to Asia and to the world, that Japan would never again go to war. It goes without saying that this vow was born out of remorse for the horrors of the Asia-Pacific War. It put a stop to Japan’s militaristic imperialism and military actions overseas, and so continues to act as the basis for the relationships of peace and mutual trust between Japan and other Asian nations.

Currently, the situation in Iraq has reached an impasse, and the Middle East has entered another extremely critical period. Moreover, the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula is pushing East Asia towards a new arms race and the threat of war. In today’s world, where the chain of violence and war continues unbroken and militarization is gathering speed, the existence of Japan’s Article 9 provides encouragement to the many citizens of the world who aspire to and work towards “a peace that does not rely on force”. Furthermore, through cutting military expenditure, Article 9 contributes to global NGO efforts around the world in eradicating poverty and bringing about a sustainable society. We believe that Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution constitutes a world-class model for peace and should be protected as a global treasure for future generations.

The Hague Appeal for Peace Civil Society Conference, held in May 1999, sent out the following call to action: “The legislature of each country should adopt a resolution similar to that in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, forbidding their government to go to war”. The World Peace Forum, held in June 2006 in Vancouver, called in its closing statement for “governments to constitutionally renounce war (e.g. Japan’s Article 9)”. International support for Article 9 is unquestionably growing.

Despite this, there are increasingly vocal calls from within Japan to get rid of this article of the Constitution. The move to amend Article 9 for the worse gathered speed during Prime Minister Abe’s tenure. However, most of the arguments for amendment failed to take into account the position of Article 9 in the world. We believe that there is a need for us, together with world citizens and NGOs, to launch a major movement supporting Article 9 as the shared property of the whole world, calling for a global peace that does not rely on force.

Consequently, we propose to hold a large-scale Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War in Japan in May 2008. This conference will bring together voices from around the world in support of Article 9. We plan to invite the world’s leading thinkers and cultural figures, including recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, and hope to make clear the international significance of Article 9. We intend to create a forum for the citizens of the world to discuss what they can do to realize the ideal, expressed in Article 9, of establishing peace without relying on force.

Several Nobel Peace Prize laureates have expressed a strong interest in the plans for the Global Article 9 Conference. These include Jody Williams (International Campaign to Ban Landmines), Mairead Maguire (Northern Irish peace activist), Shirin Ebadi (Iraqi activist for women’s rights) and Wangari Maathai (Kenya’s Green Belt Movement). We will also invite leaders and activists from many countries that have, or aim to have, nonmilitary constitutions or models. The Conference will consist of a combination of large-scale lectures, workshops, and a number of events hosted by international NGOs in order to attract a total of around 10,000 participants. We also hope that principal guests from overseas will agree to travel around Japan to participate in a variety of Conference -related events.

Cora Weiss, President of the Hague Appeal for Peace Civil Society Conference of 1999 and former President of the International Peace Bureau, has already pledged her full support for the Global Article 9 Campaign and Conference. Furthermore, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC–an international NGO network established in response to a call by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan) and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers have both resolved to support the Conference.

In tandem with these international developments, the Japan Organising Committee of the Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War came into being on 29January, 2007. In order to make the Conference a success, we rely on the intelligence and strength of as many people as possible, and so we ask for your participation and support.

We, the following, support the Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War:

Alexander, Ronni (Professor, Kobe University Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies)

Amamiya Karin (Author)

Aoki Keisuke (Japan Union for Nature Conservation)

Arai Junichi (Textile artist)

Arima Raitei ( Chief abbot of the Shokokuji Branch of the Rinzai Zen School, Head Priest of Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji Temples)

Asai Motofumi (President, Hiroshima Peace Institute)

Binard, Arthur (Poet)

Fujiwara Mayumi (Lawyer)

Goto Shouko (President, Japan Women’s University)

Goto Toyo (Photographer, Representative of Global Article 9 Conference in Sendai)

Hida Shuntaro (Physician treating hibakusha)

Hinohara Shigeaki (Chairman of the Board of Trustees, St Luke’s International Hospital, Tokyo)

Hiraoka Takashi (Former mayor of Hiroshima)

Honda Ryutaro (World War II veteran)

Hoshikawa Jun (Executive Director, Greenpeace Japan)

Ichikawa Moriichi (Playwright)

Ikebe Shinichiro (Composer)

Ikeda Kayoko (Translator)

Inoue Hisashi (Author, playwright, President of Japan Pen Club)

Isezaki Kenji (Lecturer, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies; former Chief of the Disarmament, Demobilization & Reintegration (DDR) Coordination Section of the United Nations Mission in SierraLeone)

Ishii Mayako (National President, YWCA of Japan)

Ishikawa Bunyou (Photojournalist)

Ishizawa Kei (Cartoon artist)

Ito Makoto (Director, Ito Juku and Japan Institute of Constitutional Law)

Junkerman, John (Film director)

Kamata Minoru (Doctor)

Kamata Satoshi (Investigative reporter)

Katou Tokiko (Singer)

Katsumata Makoto (Director, International Peace Research Institute, Meiji Gakuin University)

Kayama Rika (Psychiatrist)

Kimijima Akihiko (Member of the International Governance Council of Nonviolent Peaceforce)

Kioi Akio (Former President , Japan Federation of Bar Associations)

Kobori Shigeru (Former President, Japan Federation of Bar Associations)

Kodama Katsuya (Former Secretary-General, International Peace Research Association)

Kokontei Kikuchiyo (Rakugo performer)

Komori Youichi (Lecturer, Tokyo University)

Konuma Michiji (Physicist, former council member, Pugwash Council)

Lummis, Douglas (Professor, Okinawa International University)

Maeda Tetsuo (Journalist)

Marumoto Yuriko (Doctor)

Matsui, Kathy (The Hague Appeal for Peace, Global Campaign for Peace Education Japan)

Matsuura Goro (Bishop in charge of the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace)

Miki, James (Scriptwriter)

Miura Mitsuyo (Director, Miura Ayako Literature Museum)

Mizushima Asaho (Lecturer, Waseda University)

Morimura Seiichi (Author)

Morinaga Takuro (Economic analyst)

Motobayashi Toru (Former President, Japan Federation of Bar Associations)

Gordon Silas Mwangi (Shikoku Gakuin University)

Mushakoji Kinhide (Former Vice-Rector, United Nations University)

Mutou Toru (Mathematician)

Nakagawa Kei (Musician, Soul Flower Union)

Nakano Mami (Lawyer)

Nakata Susumu (Lawyer)

Nakazawa Masao (Doctor)

Naruse Masahiro (Artist)

Niikura Osamu (President, Japanese Lawyers International Solidarity Association)

Nishino Rumiko (Co-Chairperson, VAWW-NET JAPAN)

Ochiai Keiko (Author, President of Children’s bookstore Crayon House)

Oguma Eiji (Lecturer, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University)

Okamoto Mitsuo (Professor Emeritus, Hiroshima Shudo University)

Park Kyongnam (Essayist)

Peeco (Fashion critic, chanson singer)

Saito Takao (Journalist)

Sataka Makoto (Economics commentator)

Shikita Jun (Director, Be Good Cafe)

Shinagawa Masaji (Chairperson, International Development Center of Japan; Co-executive, JapanAssociation of Corporate Executives)

Shin Sugok (Human resource development consultant)

Siegel, Michael (Researcher, Nanzan University Institute for Social Ethics)

Suzuki Reiko (Christian Peace Network)

Takahashi Tetsuya (Philosopher)

Takato Nahoko (Iraq aid volunteer)

Tanaka Yuuko (Edo-era culture researcher)

Taniyama Hiroshi (President, Japan International Volunteer Center)

Tatsumura Jin (Film director)

Tsuji Shinichi (Founder, NGO Sloth Club)

Tsujii Takashi (Poet and author)

Tsutsumi Mika (Journalist)

Uchihashi Katsuto (Economics commentator)

Umebayashi Hiromichi (President, Peace Depot)

Utsumi Aiko (President, Peace Studies Association of Japan)

Watanabe Eri (Playwright, director and actor)

Yamada Makoto (Pediatrician)

Yamauchi Toshihiro (Constitutional scholar)

Yoshioka Tatsuya (Director, Peace Boat)

Yoshitake Teruko (Author)

Yukawa Reiko (Songwriter and music critic)