Article 9 group calls for end to nuclear power

Kyodo

The founders of an antirevisionist group stressed the need Saturday to remove nuclear power from the nation’s energy policy in light of Article 9 of the Constitution and the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 atomic plant.

“Our Constitution represents our determination to never again experience the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” said Kenzaburo Oe, the 1994 Nobel laureate in literature, referring to the two cities obliterated by atomic bombs in the final days of World War II. “But we have seen the nuclear disaster in Fukushima.”

Oe, one of the nine founders of the Article 9 Association, made the remarks at the group’s national rally in Tokyo, which drew about 700 like-minded people.

“Children in Fukushima will be forced to live for decades with fears of internal radiation exposure, and this is the negative legacy of possessing nuclear power plants. We have to minimize the damage in Fukushima and prevent a reoccurrence,” he said, appealing for an end to nuclear energy.

Some lawmakers have suggested that Japan should wield its potential for nuclear deterrence by showing the world it can produce nuclear weapons at any time, but Oe attacked that stance as a move against the war-renouncing Constitution.

Other founders of the association shared his view, including Yasuhiro Okudaira, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo who specializes in constitutional studies.

“The issues surrounding nuclear power plants are those surrounding Article 9,” Okudaira said.

Article 9 stipulates that Japan forever renounces war, stating, “Land, sea and air forces as well as other war potential will never be maintained.”

Hisae Sawachi, a prominent writer, also echoed Oe’s view.

“Protecting Article 9 means declaring our stance over how to deal with nuclear power plants,” he said.

The association was founded in 2004 by nine pro-Constitution intellectuals, including the late Makoto Oda and Shuichi Kato, both of whom were influential writers. The Article 9 Association has spawned around 7,530 like-minded groups across the nation.

In the latest move aimed at revising the Constitution, the Lower House’s Deliberative Council on the Constitution held its first brainstorming meeting this month.

In response, Okudaira, the constitutional scholar, said the Constitution should not be influenced by political speculation.

“The Constitution is too fundamental to be revised easily,” he said. “It is not a political entity. It shows the way a country is, and is a pillar of a human community.”