Tuesday, June 3, 2008

GLOBAL WAR ABOLITION MOVEMENT MEETS IN JAPAN

ALICE SLATER, COMMON DREAMS After World War II, the victorious allied powers, implementing a transition to democracy in Japan, required Japan to forego any future aggressive military action by including a provision in their new Constitution to renounce war and the threat or use of force. But by 1950, following the outbreak of the Korean War, when US General MacArthur ordered the establishment of a 75,000-strong Japanese National Police Reserve equipped with US Army surplus materials, numerous assaults have been made on the integrity of Article 9. By 1990, Japan was ranked third in military spending after the US and the Soviet Union, until 1996 when it was outspent by China and dropped to fourth place. . .

The citizen activists of Japan are resisting the US led assault on their beloved peace constitution. This May in Tokyo, at the launch of a Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War, organized by the Japanese NGO Peaceboat, 15,000 people showed up for the first day's plenary and over 3,000 people had to be turned away from the filled-to-capacity convention center, causing the organizers to set up an impromptu program outdoors for the overflow crowd . . . More than 40 countries were represented at the various plenaries and workshops with over 200 international visitors, which examined opportunities to reinforce and expand Article 9 in a new 21st century context. Article 9 was promoted not only as a disarmament measure for all the nations of the world, but as a means of redistributing the world's treasure, now wasted at the rate of over one trillion dollars per year to feed the murderous war machine, using those funds to restore the health of the planet and end poverty on earth. . .

Although cruel wars have been common throughout human history, there has been nothing like the enormous speed up of destructive war, fueled by science and technology, suffered in this last century, starting with 20 million deaths after World War I and ending with well over 100 million deaths by the end of the 20th Century -- the horrors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda -- only a few of the tragic catastrophes rendered by the instruments of war. . .

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