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2014 February 12 - 18 [HISTORY]

Civic groups hold protest rallies against ‘National Foundation Day’

February 12, 2014
As the Abe government is going ahead with the move to turn Japan into a war-fighting nation, civil groups held gatherings on February 11 opposing “National Foundation Day”.

National Foundation Day corresponds to “Empire Day” in prewar and wartime Japan. In 1873, the Imperial government designated February 11 as Empire Day, based on an ancient myth that the first Japanese emperor had been enthroned on that day. Those in power used the day to justify the imperial autocracy and push forward its war of aggression. Although Empire Day was abolished after World War II, the government of the Liberal Democratic Party revived it in 1966 as National Foundation Day, in defiance of strong public opposition.

In central Tokyo, teachers’ union members and history researchers held a gathering with more than 230 citizens participating.

Nagoya University Professor Nakajima Tetsuhiko noted in his speech that the policies of the Abe administration are based on “extreme nationalism” and “historical revisionism” that are both unacceptable in the international community. He condemned the draft constitution proposed by the LDP for regarding the public education system as a “means to control the general public”.

In Osaka, some 500 people took part in a similar meeting.

Tokyo University Graduate School Professor Komori Yoichi, who also serves as secretary general of the “Article 9 Association”, pointed to the fact that the Abe Cabinet is aiming at authorizing the state to exercise the right to collective self-defense by changing the traditional interpretation of the Constitution. He sharply criticized the government for trying to turn Japan into a country that can wage war alongside the United States by reinterpreting the supreme law and making use of the newly-established state secrecy act and the Japanese version of the National Security Council.

Komori emphasized the importance of informing a wider range of people about the ultra-nationalistic nature of the LDP’s draft constitution and called for enhancing grass-roots efforts to protect the pacifist Constitution.
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