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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Article 9 conference calls for spread of pacifism in Asia


Staff writer

CHIBA — The spirit of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution should not only be protected but also extended to other Asian countries, panelists at a symposium said Monday.

On the second day of the three-day Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War held at the Makuhari Messe convention hall in Chiba, a number of symposiums, meetings and performances were held to voice support for Article 9.

At a symposium titled "Realizing the Spirit of Article 9 in Asia: On the basis of historical recognition and the realignment of the U.S. forces," panelists agreed that the pacifist Constitution has aided and will continue to contribute to the prosperity of Japan and the surrounding region.

Gus Miclat, executive director of the Philippine-based advocacy and solidarity group Initiatives for International Dialogue, said Japan's wartime imperialism and propaganda held back the nation's development.

It was only after Japan espoused pacifism following the end of World War II that the country prospered and became the world's second-largest economy, he said.

Article 9 "may have been the secret engine" for Japan's prosperity, as it has spread a sense of security in the Asian region and "allowed Japan to develop and prosper in peace," Miclat said.

He added that Article 9 is "a historical breakthrough . . . incarnating the necessity of the human race and revolving (around) human harmony and peace. . . . In fact, Article 9 should be replicated all over the world."

Another panelist, Ban Zhong Yi, a film director and journalist from China, also voiced the importance of Article 9, saying that it needs to be protected with support among Japanese as well as neighboring Asian countries.

He said he would like to spread the spirit of Article 9 to China.

"However, before I do that, I think what needs to be done is to make a supportive environment, which is to make a steady ground where they can share the same ideas," he said.



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