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Japanese constitution nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

57 Comments
By Angelina Lucienne

The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize has an unprecedented nomination: the Ninth Article of the Japanese constitution. The Ninth Article renounces the right to engage in war or to maintain a military. The group advocating the nomination, the “Constitution’s Ninth Article for the Nobel Peace Prize,” is based in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Housewife Naomi Takusu (37) came up with the idea. She started an online petition last May and garnered 1,500 signatures in just five days. She contacted the Nobel Committee, from whose response she learned that candidates can only be nominated through certain channels and must be individuals or groups. She changed her strategy and tried again for 2014.

Nominations can come from people like government officials, university professors, directors of peace research institutes and laureates of the prize. The committee reached out to such people for help and secured 43 recommendations. They also received 24,887 signatures on the public letter of recommendation (though that has since risen to over 40,000). They decided that the official nominee would be the people of Japan.

Takusu is quoted as saying “It would be meaningful for the Japanese people, who have upheld the Ninth Article and refrained from engaging in war for almost 70 years.”

Though the article has remained in place since the end of the war, it has not been uncontested. Shinzo Abe has promised to modify the Ninth Article to allow for military expansion. While Japan technically does not have a military, it does maintain the Japan Self-Defense Forces.

Much of the Japanese constitution, including the Ninth Article, was written by an American committee after Japan’s surrender. It can be seen as a symbol of continuing American imperialism in Japan. Issues such as aggression from North Korea and crimes committed by American soldiers have been cited as reasons for Japan to end its reliance on the American military and develop its own armed forces.

Eri Okada (57) of the executive office commented, “I’m happy the application was accepted. The prize-winner must be a person or organization, so the committee submitted the Japanese people. That means that each and every citizen of Japan has become a nominee.”

Takusu said, “We have just managed to get a nomination because of the combined wishes for peace of many people. We are really grateful to all the people who have worked with us towards our goal.”

Due to the 50-year secrecy rule for Nobel Prizes, it is impossible to tell if the nomination has been accepted or not. The winner will be announced on October 10 and awarded two months later, on the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.

2014 has brought more nominations than ever for the Peace Prize; out of 278 nominations, 47 are organizations. Other nominees for 2014 include Malala Yousafzai, Pope Francis, Edward Snowden, Vladmir Putin and the International Space Station Partnership.

If the bid is successful, the people of Japan would join the ranks of laureates such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, the Red Cross, Martin Luther King Jr and Liu Xiaobo.

Sources: The Huffington Post Japan, Nobel Prize, GlobalPost, PBS

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57 Comments
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"If the bid is successful, the people of Japan would join the ranks of laureates such as Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, the Red Cross, Martin Luther King Jr and Liu Xiaobo."

Well, I don't think if the people of Japan won the prize, some fascist government would prohibit them from going to receive the prize or persecute their families or pressure other countries to boycott the ceremony.

-14 ( +10 / -24 )

If it wins, Abe will be hard-pressed to get rid of it which is Takusu's point, I believe. But if it wins, shouldn't the award go to the US Army who, under the direction of General MacArthur, wrote it?

27 ( +36 / -9 )

And he wants to change it?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This just goes to show how out of touch with reality the Japanese left wingers are. First off, how, in any realistic way, the Article 9 has contributed to world peace? And why would "all Japanese citizens" win the prize? They had nothing to do with it. Some were no doubt, against the Article 9.

It's as much as a joke as Obama, who did nothing to contribute to peace, winning the Nobel peace prize.

Well, I don't think if the people of Japan won the prize, some fascist government would prohibit them from going to receive the prize or persecute their families or pressure other countries to boycott the ceremony.

I thought you right wingers were against the Article 9? LOL...

4 ( +19 / -15 )

Japanese constitution nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

oh please.....

10 ( +13 / -3 )

I think most Japanese are unaware of who wrote the Constitution. They tend to avoid all of WWII at school.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

So, who will accept it posthumously for all the Americans who crafted it? It's not really Japan's constitution, though it is a good one and certainly better than what guided the nation prior to WWII.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Since the constitution was written by the American Army, shouldn't the Nobel Prize go the the US Army if won?

5 ( +10 / -5 )

If Japan's Article 9 gets clearance then U.S. should propose Chapter 11 for Nobel Peace Prize...2015 !

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Good for them.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

But if it wins, shouldn't the award go to the US Army who, under the direction of General MacArthur, wrote it?

Now that would be rich.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

There are a lot countries who have managed to refrain from engaging in war for almost 70 years without the help of a peace constitution. From the US army's perspective, Article 9 was just a means to disarm and subjugate a dangerous foe. Had they accepted the original English formulation Japan would've become little more than a US protectorate. Contribute to world peace by becoming a Yes Man to the world's number one warrior state. Beautiful.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Why don't they just give it to Switzerland. They managed to miss out on both World Wars.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

if it wins, shouldn't the award go to the US Army who, under the direction of General MacArthur, wrote it?>

Pretty much this. Giving it to the American lawyers who wrote it would also make it much easier to get rid of Article 9, too.

I'll never understand this devotion to a constitution that was imposed on them by a foreign power.

Article 9 keeps Japan a vassal of the United States, and its high time they get rid of it. Not saying they have to discard pacifism, but its time to stop relying on the US military so much.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

“Since the constitution was written by the American Army, shouldn't the Nobel Prize go the the US Army if won?”

That is an interesting yet illogical question, but entertaining though. :)

The answer is a “NO”, Japanese people jointly own Japan’s constitution not any country else in this planet, period.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

constitution wanted and written by war winners to establish permanent control on defeated powers.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

You know, I never really knew or cared about Nobel prize winners and World Heritage sites and items until I came to Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The US wrote Article 9, but Japan has owned it and they've chosen to keep it- so far at least. So that part makes sense to me.

I'm not sure where I fall on this issue, but I have to admit that it's a smart campaign, whether it gets the prize or not. Just getting people to think about if it deserves the prize is a win for them.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Personally I think that Japan deserves this win. The country as a whole has managed to avoid going to war for the last 70 years, a feat that no other G8 country can claim. That's impressive and a positive example of how peace CAN be a reality. And this wasn't easy. Japan is surrounded by hostile powers and countries that are constantly saber-rattling.

It is also likely that Abe, as the President, would be called on to receive the award on behalf of the Japanese people, and that could shame him into stepping down his warmongering agenda.

If the Nobel committee considers the most good that could be done with this award then I think this would be a good choice.

Frankly it is a no-brainer considering that they gave one to Obama, and he had done absolutely nothing to deserve it apart from make unrealistic promises. Japan has made the promises and delivered the goods. They deserve a slap on the back and a nice statue to put on the mantelpiece.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

It is also likely that Abe, as the President

Abe is the prime minister of Japan. Japan does not have a president.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'll raise your Japanese constitution written and imposed by an occupying Allied military government with Costa Rica....where the constitution has forbidden a standing military since 1949. (So Asahara Shoko, the Aum death cult guru extraordinaire could be a Nobel Peace Prize winner? Kewl.)

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

David Franklin Delano NortonApr. 15, 2014 - 07:40AM JST

I think most Japanese are unaware of who wrote the Constitution. They tend to avoid all of WWII at school.

All the Japanese know very well who drafted the present constitution, which is why Abe wants to completely change it. It is pretty much annoying to read these sophomoric comments.

The constitution was drafted by Charles L. Kades, enacted by Imperial Diet of Japan and promulgated by Emperor Hirohito.

The 1st paragraph of Article 9 is almost identical to Article 1 of Kellogg Briand Pact.

The 2nd paragraph of Article 9 is ignored since 1950.

Yet, Nobel Peace Award may be a good idea, just as US President Obama received one for his pledge to abolish nuclear weapons.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

All the Japanese know very well who drafted the present constitution

I don't know about all, but I would agree that most do. It is certainly taught in school.

just as US President Obama received one for his pledge to abolish nuclear weapons.

Actually, the Nobel Peace Prize 2009 was awarded to Barack H. Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If this movement succeed and Article 9 receives Nonel Prize, article 9 will be second Japanese awarded. Former Japanese Prime Minster, Eisaku Satoh received for his preaching anti-atomic bomb movement in the world. He is Abe's Grand Uncle. So, this will be second for Abe's Japan.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

So totally rad!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is a good thing and it may deter Abe from changing it. Sadly, I think the only reason Japan has remained war free is because they have been under the control of article 9, which is why I am extremely nervous about them changing it. The only reason they could possibly have for changing it is so they can attack without provocation or in self-defense. I know there is the point about being able to assist other countries in military assaults, but I think that is just a sales pitch.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

It is also likely that Abe, as the President, would be called on to receive the award on behalf of the Japanese people, and that could shame him into stepping down his warmongering agenda.

I liked your post Frungy ... except this part. Please elaborate on what you see as Mr Abe's "warmongering agenda". Given that you agree Japan is surrounded by "hostile, saber rattling" nations, do you not think it would be prudent to establish an army?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Personally I think that Japan deserves this win. The country as a whole has managed to avoid going to war for the last 70 years, a feat that no other G8 country can claim. That's impressive and a positive example of how peace CAN be a reality. And this wasn't easy. Japan is surrounded by hostile powers and countries that are constantly saber-rattling.

This is in part to the fact that the US has said that it will protect Japan. Japan had no need to go out and send it's military to at least seem to support their foreign interests.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's a shame that the left-wingers in Japan have brainwashed their people enough into thinking that the Japanese constitution (cough, American) and Article 9 are equivalent to a holy scripture, and even thinking of touching it is tantamount to sacrilege, and it would create an apoplectic fit at the mere mention of revising the constitution, as many of the right have tried in the past. And so they do nothing about it, and fool them into thinking that doing nothing is equal to being "peaceful" or "pacifist", when being "pacifist" would actually equal fighting for peace, not merely doing nothing.

HELLO! Article 9 means that the SDF's power remains unofficial and unrestrained, hence more dangerous in the long run, since it does not even admit the existence of military in Japan.

So all in all, nominating Article 9 for Nobel peace prize, and the fact that there are no objections, but many feel that Japanese are entitled, is just bizarre and ridiculous, and the fact that many in Japan are still largely politically naive and ignorant, even the intellectuals.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Why would "the Japanese people" get the prize when it was written by the US forces, and especially given that Abe and many of his defenders and apologists want to change it?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The Nobel Prize should be given the Japanese people because they have preserved Article 9. Only now do we have a rabid rightist PM wishing to destroy it. Giving the Nobel Prize to the Japanese people (and ipso facto the rest of us here) will inspire all of us here to respect Article 9 and fight to preserve it. The Nobel Prize will keep Abe in his place. It will show Abe the world loves Article 9.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

The Nobel Prize should be given the Japanese people because they have preserved Article 9. Only now do we have a rabid rightist PM wishing to destroy it. Giving the Nobel Prize to the Japanese people (and ipso facto the rest of us here) will inspire all of us here to respect Article 9 and fight to preserve it. The Nobel Prize will keep Abe in his place. It will show Abe the world loves Article 9.

But preserving the Article 9 actually means nothing in the big picture of things, as it doesn't even make the world any more peaceful (certainly not much as the Japanese think it does). Some people are even against the Article 9. I think that the Japanese should not have this very narrow vision of the world, stop focusing only on domestic matters inside of Japan, and focus more on international affairs. Rest of the world don't really think that highly of, or even care about, Article 9. Quite frankly, the Article 9 is a bit of a joke.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Thomas AndersonApr. 15, 2014 - 01:04PM JST

HELLO! Article 9 means that the SDF's power remains unofficial and unrestrained, hence more dangerous in the long run, since it does not even admit the existence of military in Japan.

Where did you get that idea? Actually, as far as I know, the only organization that promotes that idea is North Korean Government.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

hidingoutApr. 15, 2014 - 11:35AM JST I liked your post Frungy ... except this part. Please elaborate on what you see as Mr Abe's "warmongering agenda". Given that you agree Japan is surrounded by "hostile, saber rattling" nations, do you not think it would be prudent to establish an army?

Well if by "army" you mean "a larger self-defence force" then I'm okay with that. But if you "army" you mean what most people mean, which is a force designed for attacking and killing people in foreign countries then I think that's a move in the wrong direction. The philosophy of "pre-emptive self-defence" has become so common that it has been carried to ridiculous extremes in the last couple of decades.

Japan's focus on defence has allowed them to build a force specialised for defence that is a more than effective repellent for other forces around the world.

AlphaapeApr. 15, 2014 - 12:47PM JST This is in part to the fact that the US has said that it will protect Japan. Japan had no need to go out and send it's military to at least seem to support their foreign interests.

In part, perhaps, maybe, possibly, but there's no real evidence that the U.S. has done anything apart from using Japan to subsidise its massive military spending in return for no real benefit. Japan's current self-defence force alone is more than sufficient to repel anything that China could reasonably throw at it (and that is, at best, 10% of China's standing army).

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

This is a bit strange, I think. I mean, almost each and every citizen of Japan doesn't have a political voice. They wouldn't have a say if Japan decided to wage war or not, anyway. How they can even be nominated is a conundrum. One also has to wonder weather or not Japan would've remained peaceful during the last 70 years had article 9 not ever been in place? Following this logic, anyone who has ever driven below the speed limit out of respect or fear of getting a ticket should also be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for safe driving. There's got to be an article on the books somewhere-- I can't recall the number offhand, but I know it exists. It says that you can't speed!

In the end, this just smells of more "Japanese Uniqueness".

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Most scholars say MacArthur actually started the ball rolling, though the general himself reportedly said the suggestion came from a Japanese official. However it came about, most historians see the 1947 constitution as an American-style, MacArthur-inspired body of law. After an initial Japanese draft failed to meet his approval, MacArthur directed his staff in Tokyo to prepare a draft in 1946 which, with little change, became the constitution approved by Japan's parliament, the Diet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan's present pacifist constitution was forced upon it by the United States, which defeated Japan in war. Which means the Japanese really had no choice in the matter -- so if anyone deserves credit for Japan's not invading anyone since WWII, it's the Americans, not the Japanese. But apart from that, what about all the other governments and peoples that remained peaceful during the same period WITHOUT being force-fed a pacifist constitution by their conquerors? Do they not deserve the Peace Prize more than Japan? I believe Papua New Guinea, for example, hasn't invaded anyone for a long time, and so deserves the Peace Prize just as much as Japan, if not more; so does Botswana, and so also, does Trinidad and Tobago, as does Lesotho. And don't forget the Hottentots and the Bushmen. They all should be nominated ahead of Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Where did you get that idea? Actually, as far as I know, the only organization that promotes that idea is North Korean Government.

If Article 9 denies the existence of military... then who will control the SDF?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

CrazyJoeApr. 15, 2014 - 03:33PM JST

You can find very detailed collection of drafts and records toward the enactment of current Japanese constitution here at National Diet Library. http://www.ndl.go.jp/constitution/e/shiryo/01shiryo.html

They are worth while reading.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Thomas AndersonApr. 15, 2014 - 04:11PM JST

If Article 9 denies the existence of military... then who will control the SDF?

OK, OK. So you say Japan should get rid of the peace clause Article 9, and it will be a more peace loving country. It is absolutely counter intuitive. Even an ultra right wing will not go so far as you do. I really wonder what is influencing you.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Who cares? The Nobel Peace Prize is a joke anyway.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If anyone is interested to know what is Article 9, I copied. English version.

The official English translation of the article reads:

ARTICLE 9. 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. 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 belligerency of the state will not be recognized

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"The Ninth Article renounces the right to engage in war or to maintain a military. "

Then why has Japan been maintaining a formidable military for decades?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Welcome to the world of Article 9. People have been born, come of age, lived full lives, grown old and died (alas too early) in a Japan that never once went to war. Today only the very old have known war. Everyone else, including Abe, have known only unending peace. Perhaps only the very old know how lucky people younger than themselves are.

In nearly 70 years, no Japanese has died fighting in a war and Japan has committed no war crimes. In exchange for the sour fruits of war Japan has developed a civilian economy that is the envy of the world and system of social welfare (in its widest meaning) that almost rivals the social democracies of Western Europe.

Now Abe, the bloody fool, wants to change all that.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"The official English translation of the article reads:"

Uh, that's not a translation. The constitution of Japan was originally written in English, largely by a bunch of Americans barely over the age of 20 in a matter of a couple of weeks in 1946.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@MASSWIPE: Don't blame me for just copying English version as Japanese version is not applicable in this board. We found new constitution, then we were to study English version in our middle school English class. However, we had to wait one year to get English version. Imagine students spend learning constitution in English with heavy Kenkyusha Ei-wa Dictionary every week. We gossipped that too arcahic Japanese letters that translation was done by Kanbun scholars in Japan. We also laughed at the "i" Emperor's vocagruary, etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Then why has Japan been maintaining a formidable military for decades?

It's a self-defense force, part of the police agency.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Strangerland is right. SDF is not army, navy, not air force. The definition in 1947. It is not for causing war that article 9 prohibit to use as the way to work on international conflict. It is called Keibi-tai such as Guard Force, Watch Force originally. It sounds like bouncer groups so it was changed to Self Defence Force.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What a stupid move. This is why Nobel Peace Prize has been a joke.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I don't really get it. So Japan doesn't have anything it calls a standing army (though it has much military capability). Yet Japan hosts, on its soil, military bases operated by the U.S. (a country almost continually involved in wars for the last 50 years). Japan lobbies the U.S. to maintain a nuclear arsenal even above and beyond what some U.S. military planners want. Furthermore, Japan has welcomed nuclear weapons in its ports and lied about this to its own people and the world. All the while, supporters of article 9 tout how pacifistic Japan is. It seems to me that article 9 allows Japan to enjoy a hypocritical state of existence.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The article 9 prohibits Japan to go to a war even USA wants Japan to help it in middle east. USA has been keeping eyes to Japan as Japan was only a country tried to invade USA. It was a long time ago but USA can not trust Japan even it is paid more than $2 billion year to stay in Japan. Man powered military is not Japan's SDF anyway. It is robot era now. As long as Japan does not try to invade another country, Article 9 is working well.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Right Toshiko. It works well by it's own definition, as its own case. Robots or not, the question of the Nobel prize is purportedly a question of principles - and principles are another matter.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That MacArthur Constitution had Gen. Mac's aide to create original ideas. Col Kady(sic). There was Japanese married lady (Countessa) who became his lover. She was nicknamed Princess of Rokumeikan. A lot of gossips then about Madam Torio and we read she inputted her wish of no more war to Col Kady The time was when Japanese people were sick and tired of war.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well if by "army" you mean "a larger self-defence force" then I'm okay with that.

You're "OK with that", but you will call Abe a "warmonger" anyway?

That seems like something of a double standard to me.

Mr Abe has hinted that Article 9 could be reviewed or scrapped. He has also lifted the self imposed restraints on trading military tech. Do either of those actions, or indeed both of them taken in concert, rise to the level of "warmongering"?

Its worth noting that the Abe administration has shown remarkable restraint in the face of repeated territorial incursions (now thats warmongering) on the part of the communists.

There are very very few "warmongers" in Japan, and I see no evidence that the Abe administration is inclined in that direction.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The article 9 prohibits Japan to go to a war even USA wants Japan to help it in middle east. USA has been keeping eyes to Japan as Japan was only a country tried to invade USA. It was a long time ago but USA can not trust Japan even it is paid more than $2 billion year to stay in Japan. Man powered military is not Japan's SDF anyway. It is robot era now. As long as Japan does not try to invade another country, Article 9 is working well.

That's not true. US have been wanting to get rid of Article 9 for a while. But they also know that it won't be easy, and that it will also upset its neighbors. So "Japan handlers" like Joseph Nye have suggested Japan to "re-interpret" the Article 9.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Thomas AndersonAPR. 16, 2014 - 07:32PM JST The article 9 prohibits Japan to go to a war even USA wants Japan to help it in middle east. USA has been keeping eyes to Japan as Japan was only a country tried to invade USA. It was a long time ago but USA can not trust Japan even it is paid more than $2 billion year to stay in Japan. Man powered military is not Japan's SDF anyway. It is robot era now. As long as Japan does not try to invade another country, Article 9 is working well.

It's not true. US have been wanting to get rid of Article 9 for a while. But they also know that it won't be easy, and that it will also upset its neighbors. So "Japan handlers" like Joseph Nye have suggested Japan to "re-interpret" the Article 9

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Which one is not true? 1. Japan is not only country thqt qttqcked USA? 2. Japan has not been paying more tha $2 billion a year? 3. Isn;t it robot era? 4. USA is trying getting rid of article 9? You mean USA treat Japan as its territory? .

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Nobel Peace prize is irrelevant considering some of the people who have been nominated (Bush, Blair-really?) for it or received it. Set up by the man who invited dynamite....no doubt for peaceful applications. I knew a Nobel Peace Prize winner personally...who was prone to violence when drunk. Never put much stock in it after that...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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