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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 February 7 - 13  > Rallies held across the nation against celebrating ‘National Foundation Day’
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2007 February 7 - 13 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Rallies held across the nation against celebrating ‘National Foundation Day’

February 12, 2007
On the “National Foundation Day” on February 11, rallies in opposition to observing the day as a national holiday and calling for the defense of the Constitution took place in major cities across the country.

The “National Foundation Day” was originally proclaimed under a different name in 1873 by the imperial Meiji government with the aim of deifying the emperor. After WWII this day was repealed because it went against the constitutional principle that sovereignty rests with the people. The Liberal Democratic Party government, however, resurrected it in 1967.

In Tokyo, 250 people from historical societies, teachers’ unions, and other organizations took part in a rally. They adopted an appeal calling on the public to increase opposition to the recent move for state control of education and the bill to establish procedures for revising the Constitution.

Waseda University Professor Obinata Sumio in his speech said that as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Japan-China War and the 60th anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s perception of history is inevitably called into question. The professor also pointed out that it is important for the Japanese people to discuss about the death and destruction that Japan inflicted on other Asian countries as well as on its own citizens during WWII.

In a rally held in Osaka City with 400 people attending, Hitotsubashi University Graduate School Professor Watanabe Osamu outlined the historical role of the Constitution and criticized the pro-constitutional revision forces’ argument using the “North Korean threat” as a pretext.

Takahashi Tetsuya, professor at Tokyo University Graduate School, gave a lecture at a rally attended by about 500 people held in Nagoya City. He stated that the LDP’s draft of the constitution aims at turning Japan into a nation waging wars abroad by reviving the three factors that drove the Japanese people to support the Japanese war of agression, namely the “Japanese military, the ‘state-run’ Yasukuni Shrine, and the education system instilling patriotism.”

In Sendai City, a rally was organized by a liaison council composed of 48 citizens’ and labor organizations in opposition to the state control of Yasukuni Shrine. About 400 attendants adopted an appeal protesting the adverse revision of the Fundamental Law of Education and the prime minister’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine.
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