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Thousands get behind Article 9 in last-ditch rally at prime minister’s office

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

On the eve of a historic decision, thousands of people turned up at the prime minister’s office on Monday evening to shout their opposition to his plan to reinterpret Article 9 of the Constitution to permit collective self-defense, which could pave the way for Japan to wage war.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet approved a reinterpretation of the pacifist charter at an extraordinary meeting Tuesday, allowing Japan to come to the aid of an ally under attack even when Japan itself is not.

“We will never recognize such a move,” said Ken Takada, who helped organize the rally near Abe’s office in Chiyoda Ward.

“We must be aware that we’re at a historical turning point in post-war Japan,” he emphasized. “We will continue to fight at any cost to stop the Cabinet approval tomorrow.”

Chanting “Don’t destroy the Constitution,” “We absolutely oppose reinterpretation of the Constitution,” and “We don’t need the right to collective self-defense,” the protesters carried a wide array of signs, lights and banners to get their message across to the conservative leader.

At one point, a group of apparent right-wing supporters showed up in a speaker truck to interfere with the protest but were shooed away by the police.

Estimates of the size of the rally ranged from 10,000 to 40,000 people.

“I’d like to make the public to know that there are people who are opposing” Abe’s drive to reinterpret the war-renouncing Constitution, said Takuya Shigeta, a 53-year-old resident of Fuchu, western Tokyo.

Kinue Yoshino, a 30-year-old employee from Kawasaki, said she joined the rally because she doesn’t want to see Japan take part in a war.

A woman in her 50s from Saitama who declined to be named agreed with Yoshino and said she took part to help stop that from happening.

Information from Kyodo added

  • zer0_0zor0

    Abe is a tool.

    • itoshima2012

      the people demostrating are tools, it!s their distaste for a nation’s pride, courage, and resolve in the face of dangerous foes – they offer no alterantive because they’ve been raised on a soft pillow and don’t know that with China getting more and more aggressive by the day time has come to prepare!

      • 151E

        I am of the firm opinion that proponents of war ought be among the first sent to the front lines, though often the most vocal are themselves safely beyond the age of active military service.

      • Taro-nechan

        The professional-soldiers of the Japan self-defense forces are the first sent to the front-lines.

      • 151E

        Theirs not to make reply,
        Theirs not to reason why,
        Theirs but to do and die.

        While you sit safely at home. Seems nothing much has changed in 150 years.

      • James Smith

        No. These people show a great deal of pride, courage and resolve. That’s what it takes to continue to renounce war – in the face of current threat. And they show a great deal more of the stuff then you – who seem so keen to send off other people’s children to die in foreign lands.
        They offer a pretty respectable alternative – self-defence. What is so distasteful about that?

  • Angel Luis Mercado

    Can someone please remove this joker from office? Thx

  • itoshima2012

    The constitution will be changed, it’s the way to go! Japan needs a strong military, as all strong nations do. Nothing wrong with that. The only right thing Abe is coming up! It’s a done thing so stop protesting…

  • 151E

    Japan already has a strong military, but with legal restraints that limit it to a defensive nature. In this respect, Japan is an exemplar for all other nations. Weakening the taboo against war is a dangerous first step that risks embroiling the nation in bitter conflict once again.

    Perhaps Abe thinks that unshackling Japan’s military and bolstering its capabilities will act as a balance against the perceived threat posed by a resurgent China. But I would caution that history does not wholly support this contention.

    In the lead up to WWI, many thought the arms race between the great and emerging powers would act as a deterrent to war. But a range of factors many will still recognise today – ethnically charged nationalism, unresolved historical tensions, suspicion of others’ intents and alliances meant to contain rival powers, a new generation unfamiliar with the horrors of war except in the abstract, growing militarism and a sense of the nation in decline with the youth somehow spoilt and soft from a relatively long period of peace and prosperity, and an unyielding sense of national entitlement on all sides – created a hypnotic sense of inevitability that led Europe to sleep-walk into ruin. I’m not convinced our present leaders have any better foresight or imagination to lead us off a similar path upon which we are seemingly set to begin.

    • dickbanana

      IF THEY ARE THAT STRONG JAPAN WILL JUST SINK CHINESE VESSELS, WHAT HAPPENED IS CHINESE VESSELS KEPT ON INTRUDING JAPAN’S TERRITORY AND JAPAN EVEN HAVE TO GIVE IN CHINESE COMMAND BY REPORTING THEIR FLIGHT TO CHINESE ADIZ!, THE REAL THING IS, IT IS AMERICAN PROPAGANDA TO MAKE JAPAN LOOK STRONG BUT ACTUALLY WEAK!, HOW CAN YOU STRONG IF YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE SOLDIERS TO RECRUIT CAUSED BY OLDER POPULATION???

  • http://blog.goo.ne.jp/srachai srachai

    Constitutional reform can only be realized through certain procedures for the amendment.
    National Referendum will also be carried out in the final stage.
    It is impossible for Japan to go into war under the current Constitution.
    Yet, it is also important for Abe regime to listen to the views/opinions of opponents.

  • dickbanana

    THEY KNOW FIRST WAR WILL BE WITH THOSE 3 MILLIONS STRONG OF WELL TRAINED AND DISCIPLINED CHINESE ARMY, WITH THE ROTC, THE CHINESE ARMIES WILL BE MORE THAN DOUBLED THE JAPAN’S POPULATIONS! EVEN A STUPID ONE KNOW WHAT IT MEAN! AN ANNIHILATION JAPAN’S OLD POPULATION! EVEN IN JAPAN NOW HAVE A HARD TIME TO RECRUIT AN ARMY, THE POPULATION IS SHRINK AND GETTING OLDER TO THE EXTEND THAT JAPAN’S AIRLINES HAVE NO PILOT TO FLIGHT THE PLANE!!!

  • Taro-nechan

    My favorite sentence in the article: “At one point, a group of apparent right-wing supporters showed up in a speaker truck to interfere with the protest but were shooed away by the police.”

    Government police protecting anti-government policy demonstrators so they can have they say without interference from pro-government policy demonstrators.

    Now contrast that with Beijing’s Chengguan 城管 thug police who kill watermelon vendors and falun gong. Which society would you rather live in??