The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), a non-governmental organization with consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), and with affiliates throughout the globe, has supported, for the last four decades, Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan. Article 9 outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes involving the State. Japanese leaders, at the behest of the U.S. government, seek to change the interpretation and application of Article 9. The IADL is deeply concerned about the latest efforts to undermine Article 9, in particular the issuing of new “security” laws in Japan, especially reference to permitting collective self-defense.
In 1969 and again in 1996, the IADL conducted two fact finding missions to Japan, especially focusing on Okinawa and Honshu. The missions found that U.S. forces stationed in Japan and Okinawa were sources of many problems for the Japanese and Okinawan peoples. The IADL has also participated actively in both Global Article 9 Conferences, in 2008 and 2013, where more than 30,000 Japanese peace loving people gathered to support the content and spirit of Article 9.
The existence and legally correct interpretation and application of Article 9 have unquestionably reduced international tensions within Asia. Article 9 has been a cornerstone for the development of friendly relations and the social and economic growth of the region.
The IADL strongly deplores the latest “security” bills passed by the Lower House of the Japanese Diet, allowing the exercise the right of “collective self-defense.” Now Japanese Self-Defense Forces (the Japanese name for a “standing army”) can become a belligerent force in conflicts that do not concern or affect Japan. This new bills will undoubtedly exacerbate tensions in the region.
The Japanese people have always viewed Article 9 as a sacred pledge to the world, renouncing war and promising to never again create or be visited by the scourge of war. The IADL believes that Article 9 is not just a solemn oath of Japanese people, but a legally binding obligation to Japan under international law.
Article 9 is a unique legal instrument. Its adoption not only contains a peace clause; it also represents the act of fulfillment of the international obligations derived from the World War II surrender document and the Potsdam Declaration as well as Article 2.4 of the UN Charter. As a consequence, Article 9 is a legally binding instrument under international law.
The Japanese constitution is based upon total pacifism and is regarded as a model throughout the world. Peace loving peoples worldwide expect the Japanese people to continue to serve as a model with its peace constitution. IADL maintains its support for Article 9.
The Japanese people have been conducting an ongoing worldwide campaign to maintain and expand Article 9 and its core principles, including the sacred right to live in peace, the renunciation of war, as well as the principle of neutrality to promote world peace. The IADL again endorses the Global Article 9 Campaign.
The IADL requests Japanese authorities to withdraw the security bills and halt the efforts to pass new security bills. IADL calls upon the Japanese Upper House of the Diet to reject the bills passed in the Lower House. Passage will cause Japan for the first time in the 70 years since World War II to engage in war in violation of Article 9.
All people have the sacred right to live in Peace, inside or outside of Japan, as stated in the UN Charter, the Japanese Constitution and Article 9. We request the Japanese Government to abide by these obligations and continue to renounce all war.
August 15, 2015