Moments after learning the government is preparing to revise and reinterpret the Constitution’s Article 9, Charles Ward felt a sense of duty to oppose the move and make a stand for peace.
Peace activist Charles Ward hands out origami cranes in Shinjuku Ward to promote peace and urge protection of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.
YOSHIAKI MIURA PHOTO
Ward rearranged his road map from Hiroshima and headed out on a tour to promote Article 9. He bicycled some 11,000 km through 40 prefectures, stopping at over 40 venues as a guest to speak about preserving the Constitution. He passed out some 5,000 “9-chan” cranes during the endeavor.
Under a tight budget of 300,000 yen for a year, he was at times forced to sleep in baseball fields under scoreboards or to knock on stranger’s doors asking for a bed. He also received donations from supporters and managed to survive everyday on under 1,000 yen.
During his journey, Ward also came upon people support revising Article 9 and elderly citizens who experienced the war but had no opinion on saving the clause.
“About three to four out of every 10 people didn’t know what Article 9 was,” Ward said, adding it was difficult trying to persuade people who supported, with great confidence, amending the Constitution but who could not say if such a move posed the risk of putting Japan on a path to war again.
“Some would say its ‘daijoubu’ (it’s OK) and that they are not worried (that) Japan would go to war even if Article 9 was amended,” he said, suggesting even small changes could ultimately lead to Japan’s future involvement in a war.
Ward majored in architecture in college and acknowledged he has no expertise in politics or the complicated issues the government faces. But he said he sees no good reason to change Article 9.
Read related stories.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.