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Japanese Rally In Tokyo To Support Their Pacifist Constitution And Call For Peace

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On the 76th anniversary of the country’s pacifist post-war constitution, 25,000 Japanese people rallied in Tokyo on Wednesday, calling for peace and the protection of Japan’s Constitution, including the war-renouncing Article 9.

People gathered in Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, holding banners that read, among other things, “Protect the Constitution,” “No to Constitutional Revision,” “No to Military Expansion,” and “No to Counter-strike Capabilities.”

Article 9 of the Constitution condemns war and forbids Japan from possessing “war potential” such as military forces. The country’s sole defence policy is based on the idea of upholding pacifism as embodied in the supreme law.

However, as the Japanese government has lifted the ban on collective self-defense, approved revisions to three national security documents for large-scale military expansion, and increased weapon deployment in its remote southwestern islands, an increasing number of Japanese people are concerned about the situation and the risks.

“We believe that in today’s Japan, ordinary life and small happiness cannot be guaranteed,” Aisa Kiyosue, a professor at Japan’s Muroran Institute of Technology, said in a speech to the rally.

“In defiance of the Constitution and Article 9, the authorities have arbitrarily amended the Constitution’s interpretation in the name of ‘defence’ and run wild on the road of military expansion,” Kiyosue said.

“We must avoid a ‘return to pre-war’ trend in Japanese society at all costs,” the professor added.

On May 3, 2023, Social Democratic Party of Japan leader Mizuho Fukushima speaks to the rally in Tokyo. (Image by: Xinhua)

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent a video speech to a small-scale meeting advocating constitutional changes, claiming that “it is extremely important to clearly include the Self-Defense Forces in the Constitution” and once again publicly expressed his willingness to revise the Constitution.

Ken Takada, the organizer of the rally, strongly condemned Kishida’s remarks.

Takada pointed out in his speech that forces for revising the Constitution, which now have more than two-thirds of seats in both houses of the parliament, are seeking the inclusion of Self-Defense Forces and an “emergency clause” in the Constitution, and urgently justifying actions of “military power” and “building a war nation” that incite the crisis of war.

It can be said that the Constitution is being forced to change for the worse, Takada added.

Mizuho Fukushima, head of the Social Democratic Party of Japan, criticized Japan’s new security documents during her speech at the rally, pointing out that the documents emphasize that Japan will possess the “ability to counter-strike enemy bases” and will exercise the “right of collective self-defense,” which may drag the country back into war.

She called on the public to stop the war together.

People rally to defend pacifist Constitution in Tokyo, Japan. (Image by: Xinhua)

People marched with banners reading “No going back to pre-war,” “No Constitutional Amendments,” and “More emphasis on Article 9.”

Apart from silver-haired citizens, young people, housewives pushing strollers, and the blind walking hand in hand, everyone has the same desire: to protect the Constitution and peace.

A 68-year-old man who arrived early for the rally expressed concern about Amami Oshima, a town in Kagoshima prefecture.

“A large number of missiles have now been delivered there, and the Self-Defense Forces are establishing bases there, while the Japan-US alliance conducts military exercises on civilian land.” “It breaks my heart to see my hometown turned into a military base,” he said.

Miwa Kojima, a university professor, stated that the Constitution cannot be changed solely by the will of the people, and that the rally demonstrated to the Japanese government “the people’s appeal and determination to protect the pacifist Constitution.”

Info source – CGTN

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