May 3rd Constitution Day

This year's Constitution Day (May 3) came at a time when Japan's Self-Defense Forces are deployed in a combat zone abroad for the first time after WWII and Japan's ruling parties and the largest opposition party are accelerating their moves to adversely revise the Constitution.

In Tokyo, 5,000 pro-Constitution citizens, including Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo, Social Democratic Party Leader Fukushima Mizuho, Maurizzio Gubbiotti of the "Table of Peace" from Italy, and Gyung-Lan Jung of the "Women's House for Peace" from South Korea, participated in a rally held at the Hibiya Amphitheater.

JCP Chair Shii stated that the anti-Constitution forces seek to erase the war-renouncing Article 9 from the Constitution in order for Japan to take part in U.S. wars abroad. If the article is eliminated, there will be no brakes on attempts to export arms, allow nuclear weapons to be deployed, and the introduction of conscription, he added.

Shii called on the participants to actively utilize the Constitution that guarantees fundamental human rights and to create a country appropriate for the 21st century.

"Standing on the sidelines in the end means that you support constitutional revision," said a 24-year-old man as motive for his first participation in the rally.

A 41-year-old Christian with his family members said, "Listening to an Italian and a Korean participant stressing that defending Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution can lead to the world peace, I was strongly convinced of the importance of our pro-Constitution movement."

Many rallies and demonstrations took place throughout the nation on this day, calling for the Constitution to be defended and the SDF to be withdrawn from Iraq. (end)

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