60th anniversary of the Japanese Constitution celebrated
May 3 marked the 60th anniversary of the Japanese Constitution.
In Tokyo about 6,000 people assembled at a rally sponsored by the Liaison Council of Various Circles for the Prevention of Adverse Revision of the Constitution and seven other organizations. The rally was held at Hibiya Public Hall, and many participants who were unable to enter the hall watched and listened to speeches on a large screen outside of the hall. After the assembly, a total of 7,000 people marched in demonstration through the Ginza, one of Tokyofs busiest shopping districts, and called for the defense of the war renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.
Defend Article 9 Association
Speaking on behalf of the organizers, SUZUKI Reiko of the Christians Network for Peace said, gThe Constitution of Japan bases itself on the world peoplefs wish for peace. Article 9 is a practical application of this wish. It shows the way for a peaceful world.h She called on participants to increase the number of friends who join together in defense of Article 9.
UENO Mamiko, professor at Chuo University, spoke about the historical background, the structure, the role and the basic principle of the present Japanese Constitution. Emphasizing the importance of the renunciation of war, the defense of lasting peace, peoplefs sovereignty, and democracy, she criticized the Liberal Democratic Partyfs draft of a new Constitution as an adverse revision of Article 9. She also criticized the attempt to rush to enact the bill to establish procedures for amending the Constitution (the national referendum bill). She concluded her speech by stating that the Constitution should be the pillar of the effort to build a country that will promise a bright future for young people.
ASAI Motofumi, director of the Hiroshima Peace Institute, said that the advocates of constitutional revision are attempting to (1) move away from the principle that the country will not use force or fight wars to have the country cooperate in US wars, and (2) force the Japanese people to accept the outdated view that puts the state before individual. He stressed that it is important for all those forces defending the Constitution to unite by setting aside minor differences. Pointing out that the number of the Article 9 Associations is increasing throughout the country. He also said that Yomiuri Shimbun has recently reported that in a 2004 poll about 65 percent of the respondents were in favor the constitutional revision but that in three years since then, the figure fell by 20 percent. By contrast, he said, the rate of opponents of constitutional revision this year was 39.1 percent, up seven points from the previous year.
Speakers in the second part of the assembly were Social Democratic Party President FUKUSHIMA Mizuho and Japanese Communist Party Chair SHII Kazuo.
The assembly closed after adopting an appeal calling for an increased effort to block the revision of the Constitution.
Participants marched in demonstration through the busy Ginza district for two hours. There were many passers-by joining the march that made an appeal to people strolling on the streets.
About 7,000 demonstrators marched holding the placards that read gStop the adverse revision of the Constitutionh or the poster that read gArticle 9 of the Constitution is the worldfs treasure. Let us give Article 9.h
A buildersf union truck decorated with a huge V sign attracted passers-by. (Zenroren, May 15, 2007)