Many want Japan's non-military role

In public hearings on the Constitution held by the Research Council on
the Constitution of the House of Representatives, an overwhelming majority
of witnesses say Japan should increase its non-military international

At Nagoya's local public hearing on November 26, the third after Sendai
and Kobe cities, most speakers maintained that Japan's international
contribution in response to terrorism should be made by non-military means
in accordance with the Constitution.

Six speakers, who were selected from applicants, gave their opinions on
"Japan's role in the international community."

Referring to the logistical support Japan is providing to the U.S.-led
war in Afghanistan, Taguchi Fukuji, professor emeritus of Nagoya University
said: "It is an established military theory that 'rear-area support' is an
act of war." Taguchi pointed out that both the United Nations Charter and
the Japanese Constitution's Preamble and Article 9 outlaw war.

Housewife Nishi Eiko stated, "The Preamble to the Constitution calls for
Japan to make contributions to set people in Afghanistan, the Middle East,
and worldwide free from wars, terror, and poverty, and help them live in

Kawahata Hiroaki (Nagoya University graduate school student), who
experienced the terrorist attack at the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru,
said, "The hostage incident was a good example of how military retaliation
makes the matter worse."

"How shortsighted it is (for the Japanese government and constitutional
amendment advocates) to exclusively stick to a military response policy in
dealing with the recent terrorist attacks on the U.S. Where there are
disputes, dialogue is the best and sole means to solve them," Kawahata

Nagoya citizens meet

About 100 citizens held a meeting titled "What was researched by the
Research Council on the Constitution?" on the same day in Nagoya City.

Haruna Naoaki (Japanese Communist Party) said that as a council member,
of the citizens who applied to be speakers at the local public hearings, 85%
maintained that Japan should apply Article 9 of the Constitution to make an
international contribution. This demonstrates that the Constitution is
respected by the people and already fully accepted by them, he said.

A participant said, "What must be researched is how the government has
violated and infringed on constitutional principles."

Kobayashi Takeshi, professor at Nanzan University and Nagoya Forum on
Constitutional Problem representative, as an organizer of the meeting said,
" There is a big gap between the people and the Diet's stance on
constitutional matters. We must hurry in building up a national consensus to
defend the Constitution." (end)