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Grassroots struggles to defend Article 9

Residents of Saitama City in Saitama Prefecture on December 4 celebrated the 1st anniversary of the "Article 9 Association" that they had established in a junior-high school district in the city.

At a meeting marking the 1st anniversary, participants discussed how to reach out to people who believe that Japan needs armed forces to be able to respond to attacks.

A lecturer led the discussion by stating that it is unrealistic to expect Japan to be attacked and that it is more urgent to take measures to deal with natural disasters.

The association has decided to collect more than 6,000 signatures, half the population in the district, in support of the call for Article 9 to be defended.

The association holds a meeting every two months to exchange ideas and opinions. Participants include housewives, students, business owners, atomic bomb survivors (Hibakusha), war veterans, and former city assembly members. The meeting has inspired residents of other school districts to form their own "Article 9 Association."

At regular meetings, many participants speak about their experiences during and after WW II.

A 78-year-old women, whose late husband used to regret that he had taken part in the war of aggression against China, said that she joined the association because she does not want her children and grandchildren to have the same experience she had.

Association representative Sakamoto Mitsuo said, "Our district has many elderly residents who experienced the war. We are trying to develop solidarity with them through sharing ideas of pacifism."
- Akahata, December 11, 2005

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