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From a Grobal View


Article 9 - Japanese Constitutional Pacifism
Gunnar Rekvig

Gunnar Rekvig
I was born and grew up above the arctic circle in Tromso, Norway. I moved to the US in 1993 where I took my Bachelor of Arts in anthropology at Temple University with a focus on Japanese culture in 1999. This is when I was first taught about article 9 and my interest in Japan started. I moved to Japan to experience the country and the culture in 2000. I entered the MPCT (Master in Peace and Conflict Transformation) at the University of Tromso in 2003 and graduated with Master of Philosophy. I wrote my master thesis on Article 9. I then came back and have started my PhD at TUFS which will be a continuation of my master with further research on Article 9. I live in Yokohama with my wife.


With World War II as a distant memory, Japan, once a militarist aggressor, turned pacifist is shining through an unprecedented economic miracle almost without parallel. Japan spread havoc on Asia during World War II committing atrocities, under the mantra of a gchosen peopleh doctrine.1 It was not to last. Japan was at the end of World War II physically, mentally and morally broken. The country accepted an unconditional surrender to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, (SCAP) headed by General MacArthur. Under SCAP, the face of Japan was to change forever with the democratization of the country. The Emperor, a living God, became a mere mortal, the army was disarmed and disbanded and military rule was handed to the people. The democratization of Japan was not by the people, but forced by the hand of the occupying powers. With this change of the country, the Meiji Constitution was scrapped, and a new constitution implemented. This post-war constitution not only gave the people power, but did away with patriarchal rule, implemented the rule of law built on Western liberal thought, decentralized the government, and most importantly did away with Japanfs sovereign right of belligerence, primarily through the peace clause in the constitutionfs Chapter II: Article 9. Japan was turned into a pacifist democracy on May 3, 1947 when the new constitution was adopted. The Japanese democratic experience began.
    Now, more than half a century has passed and the postwar hardship has faded into history. Japan is a country unrecognizable from the war-ravaged country that faced defeat in 1945; Japan has again become a superpower in its own right, especially regarding its economy, one of the largest in the world, but also paradoxically with its armed forces. The Japanese military budget is the 6th largest in the world.2 This is where the Japanese democratic dilemma starts. How can a country, which has a constitution that dictates pacifism and denies the state any armed forces, not only rearm itself, but build a high-tech army called the Self Defense Forces (SDF)? The Japanese government has since the implementation of the constitution tried to amend or scrap Article 9. Regardless of this, the peace clause has been able to keep Japan from going to war, using the threat of war, and been part in creating stability in East-Asia. In this chapter I will try to understand the peace mechanisms in the Japanese constitution namely Article 9 and the preamble: why were they deemed necessary, their functions, and resilience. I will also look into why there is pressure to amend Article 9, and finally, I will discuss whether Japan can live up to the promise of the postwar constitution.

1 Galtung, Johan, Peace by Peaceful Means, p. 202
2 Japan has as of 2007 the 6th largest defense budget in the world.

Japanese Democratic Dilemma

In order to understand the dilemma Japan is facing now, one has to examine the stark differences between prewar and postwar Japan. When democracy is born, it inevitably brings along conflict. This is the case regardless how it comes about. Democracy is usually born from within as the will of the people. In Japan it was implemented under great duress. However, Japan during the Meiji era also had a constitution, promulgated by the Emperor in 1889. The difference was however that the power was consolidated with the sovereign: the Emperor (and the ruling elite to some degree). The word sovereign stems from Middle English referring to the King or Emperor. In this case, it means that the sovereign, the Emperor, had the power consolidated and by extension was omnipotent. During the Meiji era, the modernization of Japan was implemented which also led to Japan getting a modern army.
    Japan was in for a change with the post World War II constitution. The postwar constitution made the people the sovereign. In present day Japan, the power is with the citizens, who are represented in the Diet by politicians. The people have the right to vote, and thus fundamentally they are the decision makers of Japan. Article 15 states: gThe people have the inalienable right to choose their public officials and to dismiss them.h3
    Nevertheless, there are two parts of the Japanese postwar constitution that are directly dealing with peace: The second half of the preamble and Article 9.

3 The Constitution of Japan,

Peace Provisions in the Japanese Constitution


We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time and are deeply conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship, and we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth. We recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want.

Article 9:

[1] Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
[2] In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

These two parts of the constitution tell us a great deal regarding Japanfs foreign policy. Article 9, through its clear language denies Japan the sovereign right to use force or the threat of force. The preamble tells us that Japan has an obligation to fight tyranny, slavery, oppression and intolerance because the Japanese as a peaceloving people recognize the fact that all the peoples of the world have an undeniable right to live under the same conditions the Japanese enjoy. In peace studies, Article 9 refers to direct violence, which means war, the physical act of destruction; in other words actions that harm or kill people. The preamble on the other hand refers to indirect or structural violence, which has its foundation in the disparate power relationships found in social structures, e.g. oppression, exploitation or discrimination. Indirect violence also kill people, only it does so at a slower rate than direct violence. By combining indirect and direct violence, we get cultural violence, which is the legitimization of both as a right of the state. During World War II, Japan implemented state-sponsored cultural violence in Asia similar to Nazi Germany in Europe. There are countless examples of cultural violence in history and it is still part of the global makeup today in e.g. Darfur, Africa.
where positive peace is the absence of direct and indirect violence where people can live free from fear and want. Negative peace on the other hand, would be the absence of direct violence, but indirect violence is present.
    Working for a global peace, areas that have witnessed conflict are often policed by peacekeeping operations (PKO) of organizations like the Untied Nations. This is needed to offer a guarantee for a peace process. However, in the case of Japan, Article 9 tells us that Japan in its obligation to work for a global peace cannot use armed forces to do so. This is where the Japanese democratic dilemma becomes apparent. Japanfs massive defense budget, the SDF, and the fact that Japan sent troops to both Iraq and Afghanistan are all clear breaches of the constitution. It becomes apparent that Japan has been, since sovereignty was recovered in 1952, breaking its own constitution by keeping and maintaining land, sea and air forces. Japan has by maintaining the SDF the option to use force, which is a direct contradiction to Article 9. Then in 2004 the SDF were dispatched to Iraq as part of the USf alliance of the willing. Japan was able to do this due to reinterpreting a law dating back to 1999.

gThe legal framework governing the SDFfs response to regional conflicts dates back to 1999 when the Diet passed the law on situations in areas surrounding Japan. By enabling the SDF to provide rear-area support for U.S. forces during a regional contingency, this legislation maximized Japanfs role under the then-prevailing interpretation of Article 9. However, since 1999 the GOJfs (Government of Japan) interpretation of Article 9 has changed subtly. In the context of the 2003 national emergency bills, the Koizumi administration broadened the right of self-defense to include an armed response to any attack on U.S. forces defending Japan.h4

This is how Japan enabled the SDF to go to Iraq, which again goes against the use of force in Article 9. For Japan to live up to the promise of the constitution, Japan should break with the new precedence and keep the SDF on Japanese soil unless called upon by the UN security council and then only if in accordance with the 1992 law dictating the terms of the SDF deployment.5
    Japan had the opportunity in 1952, when Japan was recognized as a sovereign country, to amend Article 9 or any other part of the constitution. Japan, however chose to keep the constitution thus making it a constitution of the people; not an imposed constitution anymore. Concerning the possible amendment of Article 9: It is quite common for countries to amend their constitutions as time progresses. A constitution is not static but dynamic. Peoples attitudes change over time, and a constitution should reflect this. Nevertheless, Article 9 has still not lived up to its promise, to Japan, Japanfs former victims in Asia, and all the people of the world, in the fight against direct and indirect violence using non-violent means.

4 Kliman, Daniel M., Japanfs Security Strategy in the Post-9/11 World: Embracing a New Realpolitik, p.25
5 Heinrich, L. William,, UN Peace-Keeping Operations, p. 115 - 132

Historical Background for the Japanese Post World War II Constitution

Having established the peace mechanisms in the Japanese constitution, it becomes important to understand them in a historical perspective. By doing this, I think it will be inherently clear why this constitution is such a stark contrast to the history of Japan. I have mentioned the significance of being the sovereign, and in so being, I think it is important to look at some history to really gather the significance of removing power from one person and by extension the military establishment, and giving it to the people.
    Japan has had a long history of violence. It is only in Japanfs recent history, since the end of World War II, that the country has ascertained the image of peace. Prior to this, Japan had several civil wars which ended in 1600 when Tokugawa Ieyasu unified Japan into one country.6 Tokugawa was able to retain peace by taking hostages: primarily the wives and heirs of the daimyo (the feudal lords) were forced to live in Edo. Under the Tokugawa shogunate, social hierarchy, a rigid class structure, autocracy, and nationalism manifested itself. Religion was also part in the growth of the Japanese nationalism, primarily through the Shinto works the Kojiki and the Nihongi. It was decreed that the Emperor was a direct descendent from God. When you have such a nationalistic foundation in religion, coupled with a totalitarian government, you run the danger of ending up with state sponsored chosen people nationalism that ended with the Japanese expansion into Asia in the 1930s. This chosen people rhetoric led the Japanese to turn to fascism similar to Germany or Italy. Other reasons for the Japanese invasion of Asia was also to ensure a steady supply of natural resources and colonize Asia for land. Japan had in effect implemented cultural violence.
    Since the invasion of China, Korea and Southeast Asia, many atrocities were committed by the Japanese, that have unfortunately partly been censored by the Japanese textbook revisions. These atrocities includes: the slaughter of noncombatants, state sanctioned rape, biological experimentation on people, and forced labor. In the rape of Nanking, hundreds of thousands of people were killed in a matter of weeks.

gIndividual soldiers and small groups of two or three roamed over the city murdering, raping, looting and burning ... at least 12,000 noncombatant Chinese men, women and children met their deaths in these indiscriminate killings during the first two or three days of the Japanese occupation of the city.h7

Concerning the state sanctioned rape, there has been little recognition given the victims. Many of the women that were made into prostitutes are still today not widely heard and tend to loose their cases before the Japanese courts. Granted there have been those that have won compensation, but those remain a minority. This means that the Japanese refusal to apologize for World War II, and Japanfs poor record of compensating the victims, leaves little or no justice even though Japan lost the war.
    The Japanese also conducted biological warfare and human experimentation not unlike the Germans did at the concentration camps. The Japanese military used Chinese, Korean, Russian, and other prisoners of war for these experiments. These experiments included research on the plague, cholera, smallpox, botulism and other diseases by Japanese scientists.8

The Japanese were also victims during World War II through firebombing of cities and especially the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The firebombing of Tokyo was almost as inhuman as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki except for conventional weapons being used and thus once the fires had burned and the bombing had ended, it was over, contrary to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Tokyo at the time of World War II was primarily built of wood meaning that the American tactic led to one firestorm that engulfed 41 km2 killing an estimated 83.000 people.9 The firebombing turned people into torches, lighting up from the heat alone.
    Nevertheless, the Japanese as victim is particularly evident with the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The nuclear bombs dropped on Japan showed the world once and for all the inhumanity of these weapons that kill indiscriminately. The nuclear bomb kills by the radiation, the shock-wave, heat, and fallout. In Hiroshima people had their skin melt of their bodies. They walked with their arms held forward as that was the least painful to them.10 One point of interest is that both Nagasaki and Hiroshima were cities of war having large military industries. It was in Hiroshima that the Yamato was built and her sister ship the Musashi was built in Nagasaki. It is ironic that these two cities, previously icons for war, have become both national and international symbols for peace.

6 Bryant, Anthony J., Sekigahara 1600: The Final Struggle for Power, p.79
7 Brook, Timothy (ed.), Documents on the Rape of Nanking, p.259
8 Perkins, Dorothy J. Japan Goes to War. p.115
9 Addington, Larry H. The Patterns of War Since the Eighteenth Century. p. 259
10 Personal Conversation with Akihiro Takahashi (Former Director of Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation)

Comparison of conventional weapons nuclear weapons: Hiroshima, Japan and Dresden, Germany

In the European theater, Dresden was the most heavily bombed city in Europe. The allies dropped 630.000 bombs on Dresden killing a total of 115.000 people. In comparison, the allies dropped one, that is one, bomb on Hiroshima killing a total of 140.000 people.11 Another aspect of the Hiroshima bomb is that the victims of the bomb are still suffering today. Children in Hiroshima born after the war were deformed, stillborn (dead at birth), and have developed several health issues. The hibakusha12 also had their DNA changed because of radiation. This DNA are now being passed on to the 3rd and 4th generations and there are ongoing lawsuits to make the Japanese government continue studying the effects the nuclear bomb has on the future generations. It is argued that the nuclear bombs were used for a quick end to the war and to show the world what the Americans were capable off.
    With the end of World War II it becomes inherently clear that Article 9 and the Japanese constitution is important in the struggle for a viable international peace. Through Article 9 nuclear weapons are inherently illegal.

11 Illegality of Nuclear Weapons, p. 13
12 Hibakusha trans. nuclear bomb survivor

Democracy and Constitutionalism

Since the end of World War II, the face of Japan was to be forever changed. The Japanese army capitulated and SCAP started drafting a new constitution for Japan. This constitution was came into effect on May 3, 1947, six months after it was adopted. The constitution gave dramatic changes to Japan by handing the power to the people and made a god human.
    I will now move on to the discussions on democracy and constitutionalism as these to concepts are important in understanding Article 9.


Democracy comes from greek and is made up of the words demos which means people and kratein which means rule; ergo the rule of the people. Democracy has its roots in ancient Greece where the term was coined around the 5th century BC. When we use the word democracy today, we refer to indirect democracy, or representative democracy. This means that we elect people to rule on our behalf. This system makes the government fairly representative of the people of a country. gDemocratic government is based on the will of the people, expressed regularly through free and fair elections. Democracy has in its foundation respect for the human person and the rule of law.h13 I will use Robert Dahlfs concept epolyarchyf as the definition of democracy, where according to Dahl, polyarchy is gconstructed through consideration of the einstitutional guaranteesf which ensure citizens equal and eunimpairedf opportunities to eformulatef and esignifyf their preferences and have them eweighted equally in the conduct of government.h14 Dahl continues to outline ten institutional guarantees that are necessary for democracy to function. They are as follows:

  • Freedom to form and join organizations
  • Freedom of expression
  • Right to Vote
  • Eligibility for public office
  • Right of political leaders to compete for support and for votes
  • Alternative sources of information
  • Free and fair elections
  • Institutions for making government policies depend on votes and other expressions of preference
  • Transparency
  • The Judiciary: Fair trials and equality before the law and Human Rights

In addition to being a system that empowers the people of any given society, democracies are regarded as peaceful. This is the democratic peace argument, which says: democracies tend not to fight each other, and established democracies are not at high risk for civil war. I say established democracies because they have implemented democratic institutions that acts as buffers against civil war. These institutions also act as buffers in another way, to slow the political process thus keeping rash and hurried decisions in check. Moreover, a feature of the democratic peace is that in a country where established democracy functions within the rule of law, it goes to say that they will cope with internal strife within the framework of the law. Thus, they are better protected against human rights abuses than nondemocracies where the rule of law is weak or lacking.
    There are basically four ways of becoming a democracy which i will briefly outline. You have pact, imposition, reform and revolution. Pact is made up of Elites and compromise, imposition is made up of elites and force, reform is masses and compromise, whereas revolution is masses and force. In the case of Japan we are dealing with imposition where force and elites were present. Force was the US occupying forces and the elites were the political elements in Japan. Why the transition was successful in Japan contra e.g. Iraq is another discussion, except for some arguments that are: the Japanese were tired of war, the Americans did not dismantle the police force, did not do away with the democratic institutions and were quick to send aid to Japan.
    Nevertheless the Japanese democracy is functioning because of its basis in the rule of law, the democratic institutions, and the constitution as the guarantee. All democracies are built on the rule of law. The rule of law entails that the freedoms we take for granted are protected and that we are all equal before the law. Through the rule of law minorities, women or whoever in society that are weak are protected. The first election after the war in Japan saw women vote, and mentioning Article 24, saw the end of the patriarchal system. The universal human rights are the very foundation to the rule of law.
    Democratic institutions are also vital for democracies to function, and they are also central in protecting Article 9 for example. They do so by slowing the democratic process meaning that if the government wants to change Article 9, it must do so within the framework in place today: the institutions that demands government policies depending on votes and other expressions of preference, as Dahl outlines. So in the case of the Japanese government, it must gain the vote of the lower house and the upper house in the Diet and then take the vote to a national referendum before Article 9 can be amended.
An inherent fault of democracy is that it functions very well on a national level, but not as well internationally. Democracy creates international anarchy where each country is left to fend for itself.


    Now having talked briefly about democracy we come to the constitution. The constitution of a country defines the framework for a country regarding the countryfs integrity, form of government, and how the country operates. This has the foundation in self-determination of a nation, which basically means that those who share a cultural identity has the right to sovereignty. Furthermore, the constitution sets boundaries as to how a country can act within its borders and how it relates to the international sphere. The constitution is also a representation of who we are.

Constitutionalism has at its roots the idea of protecting the rights of individuals and minorities from majoritarian. Constitutional governments are established primarily, in theory, to assure individual rights, and their constitutions are designed to assure governmental respect for those rights.15

In Japan, the constitution has thus been reasonably successful. It has guaranteed the rights of all Japanese citizens, be it women, ainu or the burakumin. (Whether the constitution has been protecting the rights of ethnic Chinese and Koreans and other minorities can be questioned.)
    Basically constitutionalism can be understood as a dynamic political and historical process rather than a static body of thought laid down in the past. Constitutions represent the fundamental values and beliefs of the identity of a state, or sometimes nation-state. The constitution dictates our behavior which in turn dictates the constitution: it evolves with us while keeping the basic human rights at its center as human rights are universal in nature.

Intervention and punishment

Interventionism is a tool generally reserved for the United Nations, the IMF or the World Bank. The term itself means that one country or several countries intervenes into another sovereign country's domestic affairs on the grounds of e.g. natural disasters, human rights violations, genocide or war. "The principle that states should never intervene in the domestic affairs of other states follows readily from the legalist paradigm and, less readily and more ambiguously, from those conceptions of life and liberty that underlie the paradigm and make it plausible.h16 In this case we are looking at the intervention in times of war. When a country has lost a war, the victor will inevitably occupy and force regime change and will dictate domestic policies that will shape the future of that country. This means that the values of the victor are implemented into the occupied country, thus it will hopefully prevent future conflict. This however, according to Michael Walzer is not just intervention, but conquest. Intervention is not justified whenever a country wants to dispose of a tyrannical foreign government, because that is within the realms of self-determination and sovereignty.

13 American Society of International Law (1991) 30 International Legal Materials p.190
14 Dahl, Robert, Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition, p.3
15 Bryner, Gary C., Constitutionalism and Rights, p. 7
16 Walzer, Michael, Just and Unjust Wars, p. 86

Functions of Article 9

Japan with Article 9 makes the rule of law and mediation ever more important in solving conflict, both internationally and nationally. Article 9 has several functions and is epoch making in the nuclear age as the sole guarantee against a nuclear holocaust: by denying the very industry nuclear weapons thrive on.
    Article 9 also limits the Japanese defense budget. Japanfs defense budget is approximately 1%. There is no military-industrial complex in Japan. The militaryindustrial complex is when the military is dependent on civilian industry to supply it while it is funded by government. Hence people loose while industry makes a profit and wins. The military industry as it is today, demands profit and therefore does not create peace, rather the opposite. Another argument for the military-industrial complex is that other technologies will advance, and in turn the economy and the country as a whole will benefit. Germany and Japan have debunked this assumption.
    Internationally, Article 9 functions are also several. It has stabilized the region of East Asia. China has states that Japan with Article 9 can be construed as an apology. That Japan adopted Article 9 shows that the Japanese repent of the atrocities committed during World War II. Article 9 is a provision for the security of East Asian countries who suffered under Japanese militarism. According to Dr. Akihiko Kimijima of Ritsumeikan University, the Far Eastern Commission (FEC) in Washington, whose members include: China, India, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand, had authority in the making of the Japanese constitution. Thus he argues that the post war constitution of Japan is a social contract within East Asia to preserve the peace.
    Article 9 provides Japan with the best diplomatic tool in solving conflicts. Today many conflicts are solved by militarily powerful nations or organizations, e.g. the US, France or Great Britain, NATO or the UN. These countries and organizations can approach a conflict zone and try to reach a diplomatic solution, never forgetting that they are backed by a powerful military. So they have the threat of, and the use of force backing them. The Japanese constitution and Article 9 specifically denies Japan the right to use force or the threat of force in solving conflicts. Japan is left with diplomacy. To draw a parallel to Norway, where one of the fundaments of the Norwegian peace policy has been to offer a gsafeh place to talk between parties in conflict. Norway has stated that it is open for requests in meditation and Norway tries to be no-ones enemy and everybodyfs friend. Some might argue that Norway is on thin ice with this presumption. Reason being that Norway is member of NATO, and is thus serving the interest of the US, France and Great Britain: countries that are not everybodyfs friend. Furthermore because Norway has the right to use force and the threat of force. Japan can through Article 9 become everybodyfs friend without being able to threaten anybody. This can in many cases bring more parties to the table of diplomacy. Another thing to look at is the fact that before war breaks out, not much money or manpower is spent in a conflict zone. However, once war has broken out, money, resources, manpower becomes readily available through e.g. the UN. Japan has been doing checkbook diplomacy according to some Americans.17 Now Japan can really use checkbook diplomacy and invest money, resources, and a diplomatic hardline before war breaks out in a conflict zone. Japan has the tools in place to become the ultimate peacebuilder not peacekeeper. Peacebuilding is a set of strategies, which aim to ensure that disputes, armed conflicts, and other major crisis do not occur in the first place and if they occur, that they do not recur. Peacekeeping would then be a Band-Aid; a fix after a ceasefire has come into effect. There are going to be conflicts where the use of force will be needed, but the world has that framework in place with UN peacekeepers on the ground in several conflict zones around the world.

17 Hayes, Louis D., Introduction to Japanese politics, p. 265

Pressure to amend Article 9

Ironically there has been pressure to amend Article 9 since the constitution came into effect. This pressure is both national and international. There are both conservatives and liberals who would like to see Article 9 gone or at least amended.
    The national pressure stems primarily from the conservatives in Japan. The main conservative arguments for amendment are self-defense and the ability to aid allies, in this case the US. The conservatives would have you believe that because of Article 9, Japan is weak and not able to muster a self-defense. This is not the case, as it is the undeniable sovereign right of any nation to have a collective selfdefense. The Japanese military has the 6th largest defense budget in the world. I believe, Japan is capable to defend herself.
    The other argument from the conservatives is that Japan cannot aid the US and other allies if they are attacked. The attacker here is presumably North Korea. If North Korea launches missiles at the US (if they are able to get the missiles to work), the argument is that Japan cannot shoot those missiles down. This argument is flawed. How can the Japanese government say this and at the same time send its troops to Iraq, which was an illegal war in the first place? Former Prime Minister Koizumi used the commons sense argument in sending the SDF to Iraq. Then there is also the law from 1999 which I mentioned in the introduction and this argument becomes invalid. If then the US is attacked, I think it is prudent that Japan might act, and if Japan does not act, the US are capable of responding to said threat. They are after all deploying the patriot missiles of the missile shield in Japan, which will not only be protecting Japan, but also the US mainland.
    The liberals in Japan are also working for amending Article 9. Their take is a little different from the conservative stance. Their argument is of another moral kind, that Japan is obligated to aid in peacekeeping operations as decreed by the United Nations. They argue from the preamble of the constitution that Japan has a moral obligation to aid in peacekeeping operations, and this is where constitutional law becomes a thing of beauty. Article 9 denies them this obligation. The constitutional framework is in place for Japan to become the worlds first diplomatic superpower if she chooses not to be isolationist.
    There is also the international pressure to amend Article 9. This pressure is primarily from one source. Ironically, the imposer has become the de-imposer. The US, which in its wisdom enforced a peace constitution on Japan soon realized its gmistake.h Today the US needs allies in its coalition of the willing. It needs countries, who have both the manpower and the economy to follow in its war on terror.
    There is finally one more aspect regarding the push to amend Article 9, which is in a word: fear. When, in a democracy, you want to make changes that are unpopular with the people, fear is a tactic that can be used by governments. In the case of Japan, the media is spewing fear propaganda concerning North Korea and terrorism. Regardless of what is happening on the ground, North Korea is surrounded by countries that are ready to answer an attack. Even China is becoming skeptical to its regime. Nevertheless, Japan, like the US, will keep its citizens scared to easily pass new laws that remove civil liberties. Japan was among the first countries that passed draconian anti-terror laws after 9/11.18

18 The Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, Oct. 2001.

Article 9fs resilience

In spite of Japan having a large defense budget, a modern military, the Japan-United States military alliance: the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security,19 and the deployment of the SDF to Iraq, Article 9 is still very much part of the constitution. It has proven its resilience. Article 9 has been instrumental in defusing the military situation in East Asia and it has been part of enabling dialogue between former enemies. If Japan chooses to amend Article 9, we are not going forward, but backwards. We will probably see the situation in East Asia, which is somewhat defused today, turn to a new arms race. We might also experience a Japan that is now becoming ever more nationalistic turn to its past sins in time of war. Today Japan is still a beacon of hope for an international viable peace by keeping Article 9.
    Article 9 also opens the door for a whole other avenue regarding the defense of Japan: non-violent defense. This has been successful in several instances through our history. E.g. Norway under Nazi control, the Soviet invasion of the Czechoslovakia, the Indian struggle for independence led by Gandhi, and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Article 9 overcomes violence and thus transcends the ordinary modern state. It sets a new norm for how a modern state can function in a otherwise anarchic international system. Article 9 can provide us with a future framework for how inter-state relations might be in a bleak future where countries fight for limited resources and struggle with climate change one reason for the Darfur conflict.
    I should say some words also on the issue of trust. The German experience is quite different from the Japanese experience. Post World War II Germany also had anti-war mechanisms built into its constitution. But Germany was integrated into the European community in such a way that trust could be rebuilt amongst former enemies and neighbors. German law became very strict regarding Nazism contrary to Japan where you can go to Yasukuni shrine where war-criminals rest. Japan has yet to implement similar laws to that of Germany, yet Japan with Article 9 is a country one can trust.
    As I have outlined, the Japanese constitution is providing the government with the tools required to work for peace: the preamble and Article 9. By combining these two important parts of the constitution, Japan can become a diplomatic superpower instead of a military superpower. Japan can wield diplomatic strength and moral superiority in shaping the strategic processes of conflict resolution. Once a conflict has broken out, resources, manpower and peacekeeping troops usually become available through the UN or some other organization. These troops stay on postconflict when the costly reconstruction can begin. Japan is now at the crossroads. Japan can choose to amend Article 9 and join the armies of the world, become a military superpower and enter conflict zones to enforce peace. Or Japan can choose to live up to the promise of Article 9 and its postwar constitution without further interpretations, and thereby become a diplomatic superpower entering conflict zones with diplomacy. Japan can potentially excel in mediation, non-violent conflict resolution and peacebuilding instead of peacekeeping.
    Remember that when Japan became a sovereign country in 1952. The government chose to keep Article 9 as the horrors of war were still fresh in memory. Lets never forget what they remembered. I say protect Article 9, but it is your prerogative.

19 Hook, Glenn D. Japanfs International Relations Politics, Economics and Security. p. 569


  • 30 International Legal Materials. American Society of International Law. 1991
  • Addington, Larry H. The Patterns of War Since the Eighteenth Century. Indiana University Press. 1994
  • Brook, Timothy (ed.), Documents on the Rape of Nanking. University of Michigan Press. 1999
  • Bryant, Anthony J., Sekigahara 1600: The Final Struggle for Power. Osprey Publishing. 1995
  • Bryner, Gary C., Constitutionalism and Rights. SUNY Press. 1987
  • Dahl, Robert, Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition, Yale University Press, 1971
  • Galtung, Johan. Peace By Peaceful Means. Sage Publications. 1996
  • Hayes, Louis D. Introduction to Japanese Politics. M.E. Sharpe. 2005
  • Heinrich, L. William, UN Peace-Keeping Operations. United Nations University Press. 1999
  • Hook, Glenn D. Japanfs International Relations Politics, Economics and Security.Routledge. 2005
  • Illegality of Nuclear Weapons. A Publication of the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research. 2003
  • Kliman, Daniel M., Japanfs Security Strategy in the Post-9/11 World: Embracing a New Realpolitik. Greenwood Press. 2006
  • Perkins, Dorothy J. Japan Goes to War. Diane Publishing. 1997
  • The Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, Oct. 2001.
  • The Constitution of Japan.
  • Walzer, Michael. Just and Unjust Wars. HarperCollins. 1997
  • World Wide Military Expenditures.
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