Let war-renouncing Article 9 be heard throughout the world

About 9,000 women attended the 49th Mothers Congress held from August 2-3 in the northern prefecture of Akita to make their call for the defense of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution heard internationally.

The assembly stage was decorated with a grove of beech trees from the Shirakami Mountains, a world heritage site, and dolls of "Namahage" (Akita's ogre)" and "Akita Obako (young girl)".

Speaking on behalf of the organizing committee, Kimura Yasuko called for action to stop the contingency laws and the law to send the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq from being invoked. "I hope that the Mothers Congress will be a step toward making a bright and peaceful Japan," she stated.

Kawabata Junshiro, former assistant professor at Tohoku Gakuin University, gave a commemorative speech. He said U.S. moves asserting hegemony have been isolated from the international community, and criticized Japan's Koizumi Cabinet for blindly following the U.S. policy.

Stressing the need to fight against the government attempt to make Japan a "war-fighting nation," Kawabata called on the participants to defeat the Koizumi government in the next general election expected this coming autumn.

The Mothers Congress adopted a declaration calling on every mother to be a "sower of peace," as well as two special appeals highlighting efforts in defense of the Constitution and the Fundamental Law of Education.

On August 3, participants attended group discussions on 55 themes, including child care, living conditions, sexual equality, and peace.

Akita is one of Japan's major rice producing prefectures. About 200 women took part in a symposium on Japan's agriculture. Reporters said that the amount of rice consumption has been halved during the past 30 years; a sharp increase in imports of spinach and other vegetables must be curbed; agriculture should go back to its original style of providing vegetables in season. (end)

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