Who is defender of Article 9? -- Akahata editorial, October 31

At issue in the general election is whether the Constitution should be defended or changed for the worse, a question concerning Japan's course. The Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan in their election platforms have proclaimed support for the revision of the Constitution.

The LDP in its platform stated, "We will embark on constitutional revision in 2005." Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichiro on the first day of the election campaign said that Article 9 is a problem, indicating that revision is targeting Article 9.

Calling for a new constitution for Japan, DPJ President Kan Naoto supported a report of the Commission on the Constitution which proposed an adverse change of Article 9 as an option, saying, "Discussion has been held sufficiently in the commission."

Is Japan to build up arms further?

Prime Minister Koizumi has made dangerous remarks in which he used the present arms buildup under a stretched interpretation of the Constitution as a pretext for the need to change Article 9. He said, "Many people have concerns about the Self-Defense Forces not being identified as military forces, and wonder if the wording of Article 9 is appropriate."

In violation of Article 9, Japan has turned itself into the world's second biggest military power. By abolishing or adversely changing Article 9, what will Japan do next?

Even under the Constitution that forever renounces the threat or use of force, the government is preparing to have the SDF take part in U.S. wars and send troops to Iraq. What will happen if we allow the government to adversely revise Article 9?

This is the first time the LDP in its election platform promises to draft a constitutional revision with a set timetable.

In its election platform, the LDP calls for procedures necessary for constitutional revision, including a referendum law. In the report of the Commission on the Constitution, the DPJ also has proposed to follow due procedures. We must be fully aware that the situation concerning constitutional revision has become more dangerous than ever before.

Prime Minister Koizumi described the repeated arms buildup under a stretched interpretation of the Constitution as part of a revision of Article 9 as an accomplished fact. To the contrary, people's call for peace have prevented the Constitution and its Article 9 from being changed for the worse for more than 50 years.

An Asahi Shimbun survey published on May 2, 2001 showed that 74 percent of the respondents said there is no need to change Article 9. This clearly indicates that a large majority of the Japanese people are opposed to an adverse revision of Article 9.

Article 9 has played a pioneering role in calling for international disputes to be settled by peaceful means instead of military force. Its role and power have earned greater recognition in the present-day world.

Popular support for Article 9 emanated from the strong desire for peace following the calamities and hardships the Japanese people experienced in World War Two, and represents the deep concern about the ongoing moves toward more war.

It is not by accident that the call for implementing the rules of peace under the United Nations Charter is becoming more important in the international community and that many countries have strong wishes for Article 9 to be defended.

The removal of Article 9 will without doubt mean driving Japan into wars and justification for a major arms buildup. We must foil any such attempts.

For Japan contributing to peace

The Japanese Communist Party is opposed to any attempt to adversely revise the Constitution, in particular Article 9. This is an undaunted position the JCP has maintained throughout its 81-year history, which includes its opposition to the war of aggression before and during World War II and its contribution to the establishment of Article 9 in the Constitution.

This position is manifested in the JCP's call for a real change in politics from subservience to the United States, which is the source of the attempt to adversely revise the Constitution, to use the principle of Article 9 to enable Japan to be truly independent and peaceful.

A major JCP advance in this election will help stop the LDP's attempt to take Japan to wars and will enable Japan to contribute to world peace.

Vote for the JCP and defend the Constitution! (end)

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