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1,200 people participate in Article 9 Associationfs 2nd national exchange meeting


   About 1,200 people representing various grassroots Article 9 Associations on November 24 took part in the 2nd national exchange meeting to share their experiences in the movement opposing adverse revision of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution


   Five of the 9 inaugural members of the Article 9 Association, including critic Kato Shuichi and Nobel Prize writer Oe Kenzaburo, spoke in the plenary session.


   Kato in his speech said that with Fukuda Yasuo replacing Abe Shinzo as prime minister, it has become more difficult to deal with the forces advocating constitutional revision, stressing the importance of defeating their interpretational adverse revision of the Constitution aimed at turning Japan into a country that engages in war. gThis will be a long struggle. Let us steadily continue our resistance,h he said.


   Iwasaki Asuka, a Tokyo University student who took part in the organization of young peoplefs meeting gPeace Night 9h in Tokyo calling for the defense of Article 9, said, gI really felt that we are the generation that can defend Article 9. This is the first step in our effort.h


   Participants shared their experiences in activities in various parts of the country.


   In the workshop of young people, participants shared various creative publicity efforts. They also discussed difficulties and questions they need to solve to increase the movement.  A participant said, gI am afraid we will be isolated if we reach out to young people and directly take up the theme of the Constitution.h


   At the close of the exchange meeting, the Article 9 Association published an appeal calling for wider and creative actions to be developed nationwide in response to its inaugural gAppeal.h It called for many grassroots meetings, small and large, to be held at places of work, local communities, and on school campuses in order to help people better understand Article 9fs great provisions as well as the dangerous direction set out in the plan for constitutional revision. The appeal specifically called for an Article 9 Association to be created in every primary school district with people from across the political, ideological, and social spectrum with the view of creating a network of the movement of Article 9 Associations at workplaces and local communities that will help share experiences and develop cooperation among the associations.         


   The Article 9 Association was established in June 2004 by 9 public figures, including Oe Kenzaburo. The inaugural gAppealh said: g[I]n the interest of a peaceful future for Japan and the world, we would like to appeal to each and every citizen to come together for the protection of the Japanese constitution: You must begin making every possible effort to thwart these attempts at econstitutional revision,f and you must begin today.h


   The number of grassroots Article 9 Associations was 6,801 as of November 24.
- Akahata, November 25, 2007


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