Japanese lawmakers say war-renouncing Constitution deserves Nobel Peace Prize

by Mizuho Aoki

Staff Writer

A group of lawmakers called Tuesday for the Nobel Committee to award Article 9 of the Constitution this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, saying it would greatly encourage Japanese people as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pushes to expand Japan’s military capacity.

Speaking at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, five Diet members from the opposition camp said war-renouncing Article 9 is the ideal charter the whole world has been looking for and perfectly matches the aim of the Nobel Peace Prize: to establish peace.

“Among all of the constitutions in the world, the Japanese Constitution is the only one that specifically indicates the world’s citizens’ right to live in peace, also saying that the government can’t take action to wage a war,” said Hiroyuki Konishi, a Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker. “If Japanese people are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, it will be a great encouragement for Japanese citizens.”

Japanese people who have protected Article 9 are among the 278 nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The winner of the 2014 prize will be announced Oct. 10.

A group of 60 Diet members, including Konishi, submitted a petition to the Nobel Committee in May asking it to reward Japanese citizens for maintaining the pacifist Constitution for nearly 70 years.

The idea to nominate Article 9 was initially started by Naomi Takasu, a 37-year-old mother of two from Kanagawa Prefecture who launched an online petition in May 2013.

After learning that the awarding of the peace prize is limited to people or groups, Takasu and a Kanagawa-based citizens’ group decided to nominate the Japanese people who have protected the pacifist Constitution.

The lawmakers also slammed the Abe Cabinet’s reinterpretation of the Constitution to lift the self-imposed ban on exercising the right to collective self-defense, which means coming to the aid of a friendly nation that has come under armed attack, saying that the decision was nothing short of a “coup.”

Stressing that the move was made without the Japanese citizens’ consent or without any discussion in the Diet, they said that the reinterpretation of the Constitution is ineffective.

“The decision completely neglected the Japanese people who are the holders of the Constitution,” Konishi said.

Article 9, drafted during the Allied Occupation, stipulates that the Japanese people “forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes” and that “land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”

  • wada

    Gaza.

  • Ron NJ

    It’s not like the Japanese pulled the pacifist constitution out of thin air – isn’t the whole sore point the fact that it was forced upon them by the occupying authorities? Next they’ll be claiming that they were totally going to add universal suffrage on their own and the Americans just beat them to it. Are they planning on handing the Nobel Prize over to the descendents of the actual drafters – people like Beate Sirota Gordon, whose contributions included universal suffrage and marriage based upon mutual consent with equal rights? Don’t forget to track down the descendents of Milo Rowell, Courtney Whitney, and the rest while you’re at it.

    • xperroni

      True, but you only need look at all the protests to see whatever way Article 9 came to be, a lot of people here liked it quite a bit, and would rather it continued working as close to originally intended as possible (for you might well argue the very existence of the SDF is already a violation of it).

      Contrary to what nationalists might have led you to believe, Japan always had its dissidents – people who never wanted to see their country get in a war, any war, even before WWII. That Japan got pulled towards civil rights improvements and more pacifist policies during American occupation might have been seen by them as a few good things coming out of the disaster. Unfortunately, the same forces that imposed a pacifist constitution on Japan now want its government to tear it down…