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Japanese group eyes award for shielding constitution


10-09-2015 15:11 BJT

The winners for the Nobel Peace Prize this year are going to be announced at 5 pm Beijing time today. There is a nomination for 'Japanese people who conserve Article 9', of Japan's pacifist Constitution. The group was also a nominee for the award last year, but they failed to win the prize. The organizers say they will keep fighting against war and advocating peace, whether they ever win the award or not. 

The campaign for Article 9 was initiated three years ago by Naomi Takasu, an Japanese mother of two from Kanagawa Prefecture. 

Her original intention was to keep Japan a peaceful country and stop Japanese Prime Minister Shizo Abe from lifting the ban on Japan's collective self-defense right, imposed by Article 9. 

In 2013, she set up a group called "Organizing Committee for the Nobel Peace Prize for Article 9 of the Constitution", and launched a signature-collecting website. Around 24,000 signatures were collected in a few months.

In April last year, the Nobel committee accepted her application for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The group has no permanent workers, or work place. Most members are housewives like Takasu, and retired people.

Tsuneo Hoshino is one of them. He lived through the war times, and values the hard-won peace.

"We want to let the world know about Japan's pacifist Constitution, let people know that "No War" is written on it. We don't want wars. We hate wars," Hoshino said.

Article 9 of Japan's pacifist Constitution outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes involving the state. But Abe is trying to change that. 

Since he regained power in 2012, he has been using his cabinet to push for security bills that allow Japanese troops to fight abroad even if Japan itself is not attacked. 

This has caused protests by peace-loving Japanese people and constitutional experts.

Another member of the group says the mistake made by Japan during the World War Two should never be repeated.

And Article 9 is a warning to Japan.

"For the East Asian countries that had been invaded by Japan like South Korea and China, Article 9 is an apology. Japan wants to tell the world by it that "We will never do things like this". This is the value of this article," said a group member Masayuki Ochiai.

The group members say they will keep fighting as long as there are forces trying to damage the pacifist Constitution.

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