Mr. Shuichi Kato was asked "Why post war now?"
I don't know how people from abroad think aboutJapan. Anyway,
the other day I went to a public talk by Shuichi Kato located
in a big room, like a classroom filled with about 150 people. The 87 years
old Mr. Kato who was bent with his age more than before, but without having
help, he walked up to the podium on his own. He was fit, he had keen
eyesight, he was fluent, and he was speaking about the importance of Article
9 of the Constitution for two hours. I considered this to be an important
opinion therefore; I have reported it to you. Mr. Kato made introductory
remarks about today's theme "Why post war now?" meaning prewar regarding to
the future when it is expressed today. In Japan, questionnaires about
Article 9 of the Constitution were sent out up to a little while ago; "Yes"
and "No" were half and half, however, recently "Yes" seems to become a
majority. Especially almost all people above 50 years of age, men and women,
both, accepted the present article. I was astonished that brilliant women in
the 30's and in their early 40's said, "We'd better reform our constitution
and make things clear", or "Considering the world's reality, such an idea is
too naive". I wrote this summary wishing that as many people as possible
reconsider our constitution, therefore, I am very pleased that lots of
people would read this.
Discourse at Asahi Culture Centre on October 11, 2005
Listener: Mr. Ryuichi Narita
The Chapter One: About general election of this time
(1) Single-seat districting system is an advantage for the majority party.
Other nations introduced single-seat system aiming political stability, but
in Japan, when the Hosokawa coalition government was born, the system was
introduced. LDP agreed with it due to the decreasing poll to LDP and in
order to attempt to save its own neck.
(2) Japan is facing piled up important issues such as budget deficit and
diplomatic deadlocks. The election became theater typed and fought with the
slogan of postal privatization that was less important compared with the
problems of urgent matters.
(3) Single-seat system is the "first past the post system". The socially
vulnerable ratio of present Japan is possibly below 20% considering 5% of
unemployment ratio, I wonder. Single-seat system is to discard a part of the
people and enables to get in. Candidates dealt with 80% by discarding and by
20% of vulnerable. 80% of the people thought; they lead a good life
comparing with past, they didn't believe Koizumi reforms and did not wish
them, they thought they did not want to change the actual condition,
therefore they did not choose the change of administration.
(4) Results of the election, ruling parties occupied more than two third of
the seats at the parliament. Now Diet composition is enabled to enact any
bill. Campaign issue was only the postal privatization, though the ruling
party set up a target of constitution reforms that was never mentioned on
their election manifesto. The most important theme of constitution reform is
the article 9.
The Chapter Two: About Article 9 of the constitution
Constitution of Japan, Article 9 (full text)
1. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order,
the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation
and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
2. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and
air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The
right of belligerence of the state will not be recognized.
(1) Against voices calling it an imposed constitution, but Japan had reasons
to accept. i) After a 15 years lasting war, other nations wanted Japan to
be disabled to commit war any more. ii) Almost all Japanese people agreed
because they thought that they don't have to cooperate to the war any more.
(2) I (Kato) don't deny any war. We have to fight when we are attempted to
occupied or invaded from other nation. In this case, we have to change our
constitution, and to have a powerful military force. In the present
circumstances of Asian countries, there is no risk that Japan will soon be
attacked. For instance, Chinese economy is rapidly developing, and the
financial gap between people has widened. For their social stability, living
standards of the people have to be improved. At present, their population is
more than one billions; China has no spare power and time. In case if China
invades to other nations, at first, it must be either Vietnam or Russia.
There is no fear about military threat; therefore, there is no need to
reform Article 9 of our constitution.
The Chapter Three: Risk in case of reforming Article 9 of the constitution
(1) Military budget will increase, and we will have powerful weapons. If we
posses such things, we surely feel a temptation to use them. Measurement
against public and parliament sentiment for the large military budget, the
opportunity to use weapons will be created. As an example, we can quote the
Manhattan Project of the atomic bomb. In July 1945 the atomic bomb was
accomplished, Germany was defeated, and Odds are good that Japan will lose.
America had no need to drop atom bombs to Japan at that moment. Why was
Japan atom-bombed by America? i) They wanted to try a-bomb. They wanted to
test the power of an a-bomb. ii) They spent large budget, therefore, they
had to find a reason somewhere in order to avoid pressure from the
(2) According to the alliance between Japan and the United States, Japan
will be obliged to join the war that America will do. For instance, when
China will attack Taiwan, America may be attacking China because of the
military alliance between US and Taiwan. On such an occasion, if Japan has
not reformed the Article 9 yet, Japan can advocate the "Chinese attack to
Taiwan is a Chinese domestic matter, and Japan cannot allow us military
interventions to domestic matter of other nations."
(3) Asian nations will be wary of Japanese invasion again. That is an
obstacle of friendship cooperation and peaceful coexistence with Asian
The Chapter Four: There is no advantage to reform Article 9 of the Japanese
Lecturer Shuichi Kato: He was born in Tokyo in 1919. Critic. Graduated
Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo Imperial University. Doctor of Medicine. After
going on Medical study, he joined Matinee poetique. From 1951 till 1955, he
went to France as scholar, while studying Medicine; he researched mainly in
France and in European culture. He held successively professor of Berlin
Free University, lecturer of Yale University, professor of Sophia
University. He was awarded Osaragi Jiro prize with his work "Isagoge to
Japanese history of literature". His wide activities to the society and
culture had a significant influence on the postwar society.
Founder of Article 9 Association http://www.9-jo.jp/ (J/C/K/E/F)
Recent work [Article 9 and Japan・China・Korea]
Listener: Mr. Ryuichi Narita: He was born in Osaka in 1951. Professor of
faculty of Human Sociology, Japan Women's University. Majored modern
[ Editor's comment ]
We are facing an opportunity to think again about Article 9 of non-militant
that is starting to debate over constitutional amendment. A little while ago
Japanese majority supported the Article 9, but this opinion has suddenly
changed according to the attitude of neighboring countries against Japan.
Mr. Kato expressed in his speech, "According to the present circumstances of
Asian countries, there is no danger that Japan will soon be attacked". I
think that is rather naive, however, this idea represents Japanese who have
nurtured postwar indeed. Taking this opportunity, it would surely contribute
to our future selection. That is confirming the circumstances of established
time that Mr. Kato informed as a living witness of the history. The Dankai
generation has rushed through from poor postwar era to wealthy era of Japan,
thus, his concern, I felt empathy with it and read this summary. I am going
to inform you with next issue about the last national vote in this year.
Issuer/発行元: Thomas Huerlimann & Editors' Group
Copyright (C) 1998-2006 Thomas Huerlimann / Weekly Swiss News Headlines