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English version of the gArticle 9 Associationh bulletin and news.
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The English version of the gArticle 9 Associationh bulletin and news in Japanese (No.84, dated March 13th, 2007) is published by Katsuyuki NARA and Sarah BROCK of the New English Teachers Association (http://www.shin-eiken.com/). The translations are all on our ownD
[Updated March 17th]@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ (English version No.18)

2nd Constitution Seminar Energizes large attendance

gSolution of International Disputes—through the power of Article 9h was the theme of the A9A secretariat sponsored 2nd Constitution seminar in Shizuoka on March 10th, attended by 300 participants.

Sato Hiroaki, former president of Shizuoka University, opened the seminar with a short address on behalf of the local A9A group.

Then the first featured speaker, writer and founding member of A9A, Oda Makoto, gave his lecture.

gTherefs no justice in any war.h He said. gDemocrats in the US have gained a majority in the latest middle election against the Bush-led Republicans. The Republicans have been pushing forward with the Iraq War. This is the important point—what we must think about; the truth that people power can change government.h

The second featured speaker was Isesaki Kenji, professor of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

gI participated in demilitarization work in Afghanistan with a mission of the Japanese government. In order to resolve international disputes, non-military intervention in military affairs is indispensable. The preface of the Constitution of Japan embodies this kind of an international interest. Advocates of defending the constitution should assert more strongly possibilities of national defense by means of the philosophy of no-war.h

@ During question and answer time, the two lecturers replied kindly to scores of questions, some of which are given below:

gHow should we deal with the Self-defense Forces in the future?h

gYou mentioned, eGovernment should exist for the sake of the poor.f But the reality is reverse. How can we embody this principle?h

gThe bill for the procedures of national referendum to revise the constitution has now been under the parliamentary discussion. What can we do to scrap this flawed bill?h

@@ (Note: The contentious bill has many defects. One of these defects is that there are no provisions concerning the minimum voting turnout in a referendum. Therefore, if voting turnout is around 50 %, for example, it raises the possibility that only 20 % of all eligible voters might allow the constitutional amendment bill to be approved. The ruling parties are aiming at railroading this defective bill through the Diet by May 5th, the Constitution Day which marks 60th anniversary of its coming into force.)@@@

 

A lot of comments of the March 16th seminar were given to the secretariat. Some of them are given below.

*Oda and Isesaki each told us their own valuable experiences about war and peace. It was a meaningful seminar. I expect you to sponsor more seminars like this.(man, 32)

*I didnft know about demilitarization. We would like to tell the rest of the world our determination to possess no military weapons. We should promote Gandhifs non-violence and demilitarization. (Woman, 61)@@@

*What counts most in the world is democracy and people power. We should encircle and isolate advocates of improper constitutional amendment by spreading our network for defending the constitution, doing our steady propagation and signature-collection activities. (Woman, 59)

*In prewar Germany, Nazism raised its head and froze the Weimar Constitution. Ifm afraid that the present situation in Japan resembles the Hitler era. We must stop this trend, otherwise wefll follow a dangerous path in the future.@

*I quite agree with Mr. Odafs statement that therefs no justice in any war. His articulate lecture really energized me. Such a good turnout at the venue encouraged me, too. (Woman, 63)

@__________________________________________________________________


(Supplementary information from the secretariat:

The 3rd constitution seminar is due to be given as follows:

1.   Date: March 17th (Sat.)

2.   Venue: Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto

3.   Theme: gHeart of Article 9 Viewed From Todayh

4.   Lecturers: Arima Raitei (Priest, Kinkakuji and Ginkakuji-temples)

@@@@@@@@@@@@ Tsurumi Shunsuke (Founding member of A9A)

 @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ [END]