Nobel Peace Prize for All Japanese Citizens!? 

Hisashi Nakamura3 Dr Hisashi Nakamura

A bizarre political campaign in Japan has been misleading many people across the World, including some in Oslo.This year 61 members of the Japanese Diet (Parliament) and 23 Japanese university professors nominated “the Japanese people who have maintained Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan” for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015.The nominees are the entire Japanese nation.

Do they deserve it?

Last year 60 Japanese MPs including a former prime minister and the Chairman of the Japanese Communist Party “humbly urged” the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee to select “a nominee from Japan” for the Nobel Peace Prize
for 2014. The nominee was in fact “the Japanese people who conserved Article 9”.The bizarre but important point is the fact that the nominated “Japanese people or Japanese nationals” here are not limited to those Japanese who are working to stop Japan’s further militarization or promoting disarmament, or those who are trying to bring militarization back in line with Article 9.
The nominators insist that the nominees include every single Japanese citizen. This nomination has misled numerous peace researchers and activists,politicians, journalists and academics in many parts in the World, including a few in Oslo.

A great many people thought that Article 9 was nominated, not knowing the fact that only persons or organisations can be nominated for the prize. This misconception was caused by the slogan of the campaign group which reads: “The Nobel Peace Prize for Article 9”.

Some thought that “the Japanese people who conserve Article 9” (last year’s expression) was the name of a political campaign group in Japan in spite of the fact that the group was nominating the Japanese people as a whole.The nomination this year is the second phase of the same campaign following last year’s confused nomination. Do all Japanese people deserve the
Nobel Peace Prize? Historical facts say no.

Article 9 states that “the Japanese people should forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes”. It also states that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.

When Article 9 was discussed at the Diet during the process of establishing the new post-war constitution in 1946, the overwhelming majority of MPs understood that Article 9 renounced all kinds of war including a war of self-defense. 421 out of 429 MPs cast “Yes” votes in this understanding. Only six Communists and two others cast “No” votes.

However, Article 9 has been reduced to a dead letter. The erosion started from the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. Successive Japanese governments have acted on their interpretation that Article 9 has not renounced a self-defense war, and now the Japanese coalition government is trying to further expand the interpretation so that Japan can exercise the right to
collective self-defense.

Despite the fact that Article 9 states that Japan will not maintain military forces, it has built up formidable land, air and naval forces which Japan euphemistically calls the Self Defense Force (SDF).The SDF set up in 1954 is sometimes ranked within the top ten in the World in terms of its total firepower. In 2014 Japan’s military expenditure was seventh or ninth largest in the World, depending on different ranking institutions.

Over the past four decades those who consider the size of the SDF should be reduced have always been less than one in ten in Japan. The figure includes those who think that the SDF should be abolished. While expanding Japan’s war potential, successive Japanese governments have repeatedly stated at the diet that Japan could constitutionally obtain even nuclear weapons as long
as such weapons were seen within the minimum level necessary for the defense of Japan.

It is the case that the Japanese people have maintained the mere text of, Article 9, but they have also maintained a continuous policy to build up the SDF and to expand its roles. This fact is directly contrary to Alfred Nobel’s expectation to award the peace prize to those who worked for the abolition or reduction of standing armies.

The erosion of Article 9 continues. The coalition government between the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito abolished in 2014 Japan’s policy, established in 1976, not to export arms. The government has established a new policy concerning “the transfer of defence equipment”, a euphemism for arms exports.

As arms exports are now allowed in principle Japan has been actively discussing possible co-development projects with the USA, the UK, Australia, France, India, Turkey and others. The first item to be exported to Europe from Japan will be the Standard
Missile 3 Block IIA. It is an anti-ballistic missile and is under co-development between Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Raytheon in the USA.

The SM-3 Block IIA missiles will be deployed in Poland in 2018 and on the US Aegis armed warships in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic as part of the US-led missile shield in Europe (European Phased Adopted Approach).Russia considers the missile defense shield as a threat and has said that it would be forced to target European countries which host installations for the US-led missile shield. Russia has deployed the Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad and decided to renew the production of the Tu-160 “Blackjack”, the World’s largest supper sonic strategic bomber capable of carrying nuclear cruise missiles.

The website of the Norwegian Nobel Committee states: According to Nobel’s will, the Peace Prize is to go to whoever “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

It is obvious that the Japanese people as a whole do not fit into any of these categories regardless as to whether or not they have maintained Article 9. It is ridiculous that the nominees are the Japanese people, who include those who have reduced Article 9 to a dead letter while approving a budget to expand the SDF every year, those who have supported unjustifiable US led wars financially and logistically, including the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, and those who are seeking profit from arms exports.

All Rights Reserved with The Oslo Times

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