“It is now that we have a golden opportunity to take real leadership to abolish nuclear weapons in the world–BUT more than that may I suggest that you look to Japan as a partner in abolishing war as a political tool. Why Japan? Because ironically after WWII the U.S. wrote a new constitution for Japan that included Article 9, which states in no uncertain terms that Japan will never again make war. Japan has not made war in 64 years. This is an astounding accomplishment — proof that a major industrial nation never need to go to war to be economically successful. How may we benefit from a partnership with Japan? I suggest that we adapt a form of “Article 9″ into our own constitution. With Japan and the U.S. supporting UN LEADERSHIP other nations will follow – each adapting their own version of Article 9. In this way not only will we provide the leadership, but also an international unified effort to not only abolish nuclear weapons, but also to abolish war making as a political tool.”
Aug. 19, 2010
Craig Martin’s article “It’s wrong to backpedal on non-nuclear principles” in the Japan Times comes at a very important time. The world is more acutely aware of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their inherent danger to all species on our planet since President Obama’s speech in Prague calling for a nuclear free world. That forces in the Japanese government prodded by the U.S. continue to lobby for an amendment to the constitution that would modify the three non-nuclear principles is to send a message to the citizens of Japan that their lives are worth nothing more than the paper the constitution is written on. The secret pacts with the U.S., the nuclear umbrella, the extended occupation of Okinawa are tragic overtures to an apocalypse that most certainly threatens the existence of the free world. It is disheartening and disgusting that the citizens of both Japan and America allow their administrations to play nuclear roulette with their lives. Now is the time for a grass roots movement on a global scale to demand that Japan honor her Peace Constitution and that America withdraw all troops from the Japanese islands including Okinawa. A political lie basically has a short life. These lies by the U.S. and Japan can no longer sustain themselves in the international community and need to be abolished immediately!
Thank you, Mr. Martin for so clearly stating the legal analysis behind Article Nine and the peace Constitution.
From The Japan Times
READERS IN COUNCIL, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009
By DAVID ROTHAUSER
Regarding the Oct. 11 article “Many in DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) want Japan to cut link to U.S. nukes”: I agree, Japan should cut all nuclear ties with the United States. There are two good reasons. First, the U.S. nuclear umbrella is a myth. America cannot possibly protect Japan from a nuclear attack. America cannot even protect itself from a nuclear attack. Nuclear war is a no-win situation as it is, more than ever, mutually assured destruction.
The second reason to cut nuclear ties with the U.S. is that it would free Japan to work collaboratively with the Obama administration on the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Japan, because of its commitment to Article 9 of its Constitution, has lived in peace for 65 years. That is a powerful legacy. If Japan can use that power to influence the U.S. to adapt Article 9 to the U.S. constitution, that will be an important beginning toward achieving world peace. Then Japan and the U.S. can form a partnership to set an example for other nations in working to abolish nuclear weapons. Once that is achieved, there will be no need to have nuclear ties to any country.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
From the Hiroshima Peace Media Center
(May 31, 2010)
by David Rothauser
In 1946 the United States Government decided that Japan needed a peace constitution. One was written. It included Article Nine which stated that Japan should never make war again.
A majority of citizens in Japan wholeheartedly embraced Article Nine. They had had enough of war following the crushing defeat of World War II.
The ink had barely dried on Japan’s new constitution when America found herself embroiled in another war, this time in Korea.
“Drop Article Nine of the Constitution,” said Uncle Sam. “Go to war against North Korea.” Not issued in such blatant terms, America’s intentions were nevertheless, perfectly clear. In July of 1950 General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers issued a secret order for the immediate build-up of a 300,000 to 350,000-man army. Identified as a “National Police Reserve,” this “little American army” included artillery, tanks and aircraft.
Japan went into shock. The American Eagle was acting irrationally. They had just completed a four-year war against Japan, fire-bombed Japan’s largest cities, A-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, demanded an unconditional surrender—and now wanted Japan to fight for the U.S. against North Korea.
Japan had barely dug herself out of the rubble of World War II, could barely feed herself, could hardly treat her radiated victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The physical, psychological and emotional trauma was so huge—and now the Great White father wanted Japan to tell her people that Article Nine was a mistake?! Take up arms against her Asian neighbors who already despised her for the atrocities she committed during the war?!
Yet Japan clung tenaciously to her new Constitution. The result is that Japan has prospered as one of the world’s economic giants and more importantly has lived in peace for 60 plus years. Not one Japanese soldier has been lost in war since 1945. Not one civilian has suffered the agonies of war since 1945. It is a legacy to be proud of.
What might have happened if Japan had dropped Article Nine in 1950?
It is not inconceivable that a pattern would have formed, an expectation that Japan would follow America’s lead in the crusade to democratize the world—by force if necessary, and by the tacit threat of nuclear annihilation, necessary or not. Is this the Japan of the 21st Century? Apparently former Prime Minister Koizumi thought so. Right Wing neo-cons think so. Roughly 50% of the Japanese population thinks so. Conservative Japanese governments wanted to be rid of Article Nine. That might have paved the way for Japan to have a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. It might have made it possible to develop a military capable of making pre-emptive air strikes, a military that would be respected by many industrialized nations in the world community, but would strike fear into the hearts of her Asian neighbors.
The very Constitution that helped establish Japan as a model for peace and prosperity around the world, a model that can project Japan as the number one leader in that sphere could suddenly cast her in the image of an imperial, self-aggrandizing bully still in the shadow of her American protector, if she drops Article Nine.
Is there an alternative? There’s always an alternative. It comes from imagination and the desire to survive. Japan has lived for more than 60 years under the illusion of American security. That illusion was self-sustaining until the reality of 9/11. America the “protector” was rendered supremely vulnerable by the sudden attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Not only can she no longer protect her friends and allies, she is incapable of protecting her own people. That reality is repeated every day in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But Japan has a real advantage. The Peace Constitution. By embracing it in 1950 and saying, “No,” to American coercion, Japan took the first step in becoming a world leader for peace. Now Japan has a golden opportunity to inspire other nations to embrace the idea of peace as an organizing principle where non-violence and peace become one and the same. Where the dynamics of non-violence and peace become ingrained in every person’s daily activities, where the spirit of Wa becomes the dominant force in every society. Japan had the power to say, “No,” in 1950. Now she has the power to say, “Yes!” to independence from the illusion of American security. To say, “Yes!” to the abolition of nuclear weapons. To say, “Yes!” to Article Nine and the Peace Constitution. By so doing Japan will become a beacon of hope to the world. Her beacon will unite instead of divide.
May we reflect a moment to the time (1945) when weapons of mass destruction were first introduced. Atomic warfare changed the face of war forever. Today nations having nuclear weapons possess the capability of igniting a nuclear holocaust that threatens all life on the planet. Conventional weapons are obsolete. The enemy is as much the tiger behind the gates as the tiger at the gates.
The threat of nuclear war has been used as an act of psychological terror since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
There is a glimmer of hope. America, the most powerful nation on earth has the responsibility to lead by example. Until recently we lacked the long term vision, imagination and fortitude to take the initiative to lead by alternative means.
Peace was an undefined obstacle to world domination.
For decades the government of the United States has chipped away at administration after administration in Japan to revise Article Nine. The stakes are much higher now for life on the planet than they were in 1950. Nuclear submarines dock at Japanese ports. Nuclear proliferation is a form of Russian Roulette. This initiative should be seen as a warning. A warning to all life-affirming nations and world citizens to sound an alarm. Demand that President Barack Obama take a new initiative to support the Japanese Peace Constitution as a model for world peace, rather than as a convenient tool for world domination. Sixty plus years of peaceful living in the second highest world economy is a powerful incentive to pursue a world free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.
In a dramatic reversal from past U.S. administrations, President Obama has expressed a long-term vision for a nuclear free world. Campaigning as a peace candidate opposed to the war in Iraq, Obama is in a position to unite the potential power of Article Nine with the abolition of nuclear weapons. The passage of his economic stimulus plan has already cut 50 billion dollars earmarked for nuclear weapons development. An important key to Obama’s success in gaining the presidency and ultimately in achieving his long-term vision is the American people. He is a great communicator and has won the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans. Reaching out to citizens young and old across the land, he has gained their trust and has called upon them to take action in their own behalf. He has offered America a share in the responsibility for positive change. Now we must accept that challenge and act upon it. By so doing it becomes our responsibility to communicate to our senators and congress people that real change is brought about by unity, not by division, by “reaching across the aisle,” not by partisanship.
Our survival is at stake. It is not Japan alone who needs Article Nine. It is the world.
It is here that Japan may play a major role. By keeping Article Nine in her Constitution she will have displayed the strength, vision and courage that America currently lacks. Japan’s fortitude will serve as an impetus for America to live up to its own ideals. To lead in this fashion will take immense courage, a unique vision for the future of humankind and the will to break the chains of war as a means to an end.
The leadership of this great country has a golden opportunity to lead by example in this respect. With President Obama’s clarity of vision, patient determination and his ability to unite people of differing persuasions, the gap between war and peace, between nuclear proliferation and nuclear abolition can begin to close. It is then that the beauty of Article Nine may reach its full fruition.
David Rothauser is a filmmaker and peace activist. His most recent film, “Hibakusha, Our Life To Live,” a documentary about A-bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, premiered at the United Nations Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference on May 19, 2010. It is scheduled for a Japanese premiere in Hiroshima on August 7, 2010.
For information on this film, see http://www.memoryproductions.org and The Japan Times article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20100815f1.html.