No right of belligerency!

Article-9-Group set up in Tuebingen

von: Informationsstelle Militarisierung | Veröffentlicht am: 1. Januar 2003

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On the 6th of February 2008 a group of people came together in Tuebingen to start an initiative which promotes the upholding of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. They want other states to adopt similar restrictions in their constitutions, regarding this as a step toward abolishing war.

The Japanese Constitution is a result of Japanese militarism and its defeat in World War II. There is still disagreement about whether the article was imposed by the United States. „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“, it says, „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.“

Today, in fact, it´s especially the US who pushes the Japanese government to undermine this restriction and supports it to finally get rid of it because they want Japanese soldiers to join their War on Terror. While a nationalist minority in Japan embraces the remilitarisation, remarkable resistance is growing amongst the population.

„More than 6,000 Initiatives in Japan have so far moved to hold up Article 9. We want to support these groups“, says Antje Kroeger, a student of Japanese Studies.

The idea to set up an Article-9-Group in Tuebingen came up after a Japanese political scientist spoke on the invitation of a local peace-initiative. He said the Japanese peace movement would appreciate international support. Article-9-groups were founded all over the world but Berlin had the only one in Germany so far.

„Actually, our objective in supporting article 9 is much broader. The Global Article 9 Campaign is aiming at nothing less than abolishing war“, according to Antje Kroeger. This will be achieved by groups all over the world pressuring their states to set up similar restrictions on themselves. „Indeed, this may be illusionary“, admits Amely Baur, also engaged in Japanese Studies. But it may be part of the formation of a global pacifist movement. The news about the plans to set up this initiative already spread around the world and brought their proponents in contact with peace activists in Japan and beyond. From the 4th to the 6th of May there will be an international conference in Tokyo, and the group from Tuebingen wants to send delegates.

„We hope for more initiatives in Germany and Europe to join the Campaign“, says Christoph Marischka, a political scientist who works for the German Information Centre on Militarization.

Actually in Germany too, there is a ban on planning and waging wars, he states, and according to the constitution, the German army’s only raison d´etre is defence in a very narrow sense. Just like in Japan, reality looks very different. The Treaty of Lisbon – a new version of what was once called „a constitution for the EU“ – obliges the member states to increase spending on „defence,“ a European Defence Agency was already set up and out-of-area missions are always on the drawing board.

„Unfortunately, war is nowadays represented as something that is caused by some ´barbarians´ while the armies of states, in contrast, are held up as the remedy to violence“, moans Marischka. The campaign however maintains that wars and other violence would take place on a much lower scale if states maintained no armies and no defence industry. „Governments should rather reflect on ways of how to deal with conflicts without uniformed and heavily armed men,“ says Martin Quack, another political scientist. Important elements of possible alternatives have already been formulated by the campaign (see http://www.article-9.org/en/global/index.html).

Peace initiatives from Tuebingen and beyond already pledged their support to the Initiative. Prof. Antoni from the department of Japanese Studies at the University of Tuebingen helped it by giving a presentation on the history of Japan and its article 9. Now the Initiative plans to further promote Article 9 by various means including, for example, a musical event themed „No right of belligerency!“. And they will have to collect money to send their delegates to Tokyo who, upon their return, will present the positions and decisions of the conference in Tuebingen and other cities in southern Germany. „Then the whole thing will really speed up“, says Amely Bauer.

Further information:
(dt):
http://www.imi-online.de/seite.php3?id=15
(engl):
http://www.article-9.org/en/index.html
(jp):
http://www.article-9.org/jp/index.html

Donations:
Kto.Nr. 2867014, KSK Tübingen
BLZ: 641 500 20
Informationsstelle Militarisierung
Code: Artikel 9

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