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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 October 25 - 31  > Marchers’ chants of ‘Protect Article 9!’ round off 2017 Japan Peace Conference in Yamaguchi
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2017 October 25 - 31 [PEACE]

Marchers’ chants of ‘Protect Article 9!’ round off 2017 Japan Peace Conference in Yamaguchi

October 29 and 30, 2017

Opposing the Japan-U.S. security alliance and U.S. base presence in Japan, the 2017 Japan Peace Conference ended its two-day program of events on October 29 in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Around 1,100 peace activists took part in a demonstration march to round off the event.

In the opening plenary session on the first day, National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) Vice President Nagao Yuri gave a speech on behalf of the organizing committee. She pointed out that the Japanese and U.S. governments are pushing forward with a plan to strengthen the functions of U.S. military bases in Okinawa and the rest of the country, including the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni base in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Nagao went on to say that the root cause of such a move is the Japan-U.S. security alliance and called on conference participants to discuss ways to eliminate the cause during the conference. She also noted that a majority of the general public is opposed to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s plan to amend Article 9 of the Constitution. Nagao called for public movements to block Abe’s move.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Inoue Satoshi delivered a speech in solidarity. A message from Okinawa’s Nago City mayor Inamine Susumu was read out. The mayor is critical of the Japanese and U.S. government plan to construct a new U.S. base in the city.

On the final day, an international exchange symposium and seven workshops, including a tour to the Iwakuni base, were held in the morning. The closing plenary and the peace parade took place in the afternoon.

In the symposium, participants discussed how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear and missile crisis. One of the two panelists, Park Jung Eun of the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy in South Korea, said that depending solely on pressure and sanctions could bring about the worst outcome. The other panelist, Japan Peace Committee Executive Director Kawata Tadaaki said that in order to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, full utilization of the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons is necessary.

In the closing plenary, the head of a citizens’ group took the rostrum to explain the group’s activities to oppose a plan to deploy carrier-based aircraft to the Iwakuni base.
The head of the group, Okamura Hiroshi, said that the deployment started in August despite the fact that a majority of local residents oppose the plan.

Central Action Committee against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty Secretary General Higashimori Hideo gave the closing speech. He called on the participants to work to help anti-U.S. base candidates win in the Nago mayoral election in February next year and the Okinawa gubernatorial election in autumn of next year. Higashimori also stressed the need to facilitate the joint struggle between opposition parties and concerned citizens to bring PM Abe down from power.
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