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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 June 5 - 11  > People of faith share common ground to defend Article 9 with JCP: Archbishop of Tokyo
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2013 June 5 - 11 TOP3 [PEACE]

People of faith share common ground to defend Article 9 with JCP: Archbishop of Tokyo

June 9, 2013
In an Akahata interview, Archbishop of Tokyo Okada Takeo said that people of faith are tasked to defend the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and that they share this initiative for peace with the Japanese Communist Party. The following is his interview reported by Akahata on June 9:

Article 9 is a true sign of Japan’s remorse over its war of aggression against other Asian countries. Thanks to this constitutional provision, the Japanese have not had to kill or be killed by anyone of other nations for the nearly 70 years since the end of WWII. Article 9 reflects the teaching of Jesus Christ who spoke out against killing and retaliation. We must defend it at all cost.

All religions have a mission to value each life and create conditions for each one of us to live with human dignity. However, thinking if we have really carried out the mission, I blush with shame.

Pope John Paul II, who passed away in 2005, had encouraged the Catholic Church to reflect on its failure to fulfill its genuine task given by God during the two world wars in the 20th century in regard to the emergence of totalitarianism, infringement of basic human rights, and destruction of peace.

In Japan too, the Catholic Church has also expressed its reflection over its cooperation in the war under the pre-war emperor system.

In order for people of faith to make use of the power of reflection and accomplish our mission amid the increasing move to revise the Constitution, we need to cooperate with others with different positions or religious beliefs based on the common ground to protect the supreme law.

Catholics and communists tend to be viewed as opposites. However, I believe the JCP and we have a similar stance on “earthly issues,” such as defense of basic human rights and peace, protection of the weak, criticism of money-driven politics, and remorse over the Japanese military’s “comfort women” system and the war of aggression.

I was initially hesitant about being interviewed by Akahata and speaking on constitutional issues, but I realized that if I cannot speak out against the current crisis of the Constitution, I would lose the right to criticize our predecessors’ past mistakes and fail to fulfill the responsibility I owe to future generations.
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