Will Japan Stick to Pacifist Ideas? / News / News agency Inforos
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Will Japan Stick to Pacifist Ideas?

Japan has the right to possess nuclear weapons as long as they are kept to a “minimum level” necessary for self-defense, that country’s Cabinet said in a statement today. Prominent politicians in Japan spoke out in favor of debate on nuclear arms as a means of containment of North Korea in the wake of the October 9 nuclear test ran by the latter. This stance is openly shared by Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Shoichi Nakagawa, the policy chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Japan’s constitution renounces the right to maintain an armed force. The pacifist Article Nine was borrowed from the 1928 Briand-Kellogg Pact condemning recourse to war for the solution of controversies.

However, today’s government statement says even the constitution “does not bar” Japan from “possessing minimum capabilities necessary for self-defense,” nuclear arms included. This interpretation of the constitution allows Japan to maintain defense forces provided they do not have certain offensive weapons.

At the same time the statement emphasizes Japan will stick to its “three non-nuclear principles” banning the possession, production and import of nuclear weapons; it has no intention of holding such weapons.

Pacifist ideas are still strong in modern Japan. A global campaign is on to support Article Nine, which is an important anti-militarist activity in Japan.

”Let’s stop making a country which profits from war,” was the slogan of the November 3, 2006 peace rally in Tokyo. It was held to support the “peaceful” article of the country’s constitution on the day of its 60th anniversary. The participants in the pacifist act appealed to all sensible people in the world to support the peacefull initiative of Japan’s civilian society.

P.S. To express solidarity to the peaceful initiative and support Article Nine of the Japanese Constitution on-line, please contact www.article-9.org
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