Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Okinawa Dreams #5: Number 9
I apologize for not posting an image of the folder now, I'll be sure to take one later.
The significance of the artwork and the #9 might be unfamiliar to some of you. It does not refer to any of the movies that have 9 in the title, nor does it refer to the 9 levels of hell. Amongst peace activists in Japan the number 9 has an almost sacred quality. It refers to Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which was unique and revolutionary when it was drafted in the ashes of World War II. Here is the text:
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) 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.
The difficulty in wielding this weapon of peace is getting already existing nations, with constitutions written long ago, and already existing militaries, to accept changing the nature of their forces, in addition to their foreign policy. Even for Japan itself, the presence of this Peace article in their Constitution leads the government to consistently seek ways around it. For example, although Artilce 9 is a clear point for peace, it can also be used to justify the use of Japanese lands and lives for war. With Japan limited in the types of armies that it can create to protect itself in this dangerous world, this actually becomes a perfect justification for becoming subservient or dependent upon another for your defense. Article 9 is meant to prevent Japan from mounting imperial ventures as it did in the past, but it also allows for Japan to be used for the machinations of other nations, who have no Article 9 and no qualms about offensive forces or wars.