::: KNSI : Korea National Strategy Institute :::
::: KNSI : Korea National Strategy Institute :::
       June 24 2024
Reclaiming Pacifism in East Asia by Kawasaki_Akira,Celine_Nahory

Today, East Asia stands at the crossroads, not least due to Prime Minister Abe Shinzo¡¯s efforts to accelerate the long-pursued attempts by the Liberal Democratic Party to change Japan¡¯s peace constitution &#8211; and more specifically, its Article 9 that renounces war and prohibits maintenance of war potential.

The decision on collective self-defense, and more generally the new doctrine of proactive pacifism, are adding oil to the fire of relations between Japan and its neighbors, already tense over territorial disputes and history recognition issues.

International public opinion polls reveal strong public resentment among key East Asian countries. Such a climate of increasing mistrust is thus raising questions about Japan¡¯s current strategy pursued in the name of proactive pacifism, which threatens to destabilize the fragile peace in East Asia. Tensions between Japan, China, and the Koreas over territorial disputes, historical issues, and nuclear weapons programs are already severe enough; using them to justify Abe¡¯s US-driven military approach will only make it worse.

It is a matter of urgency to find ways to diffuse tensions and avoid the development of an uncontrollable situation in East Asia.

Forming a new regional security arrangement will require new dynamics &#8211; by East Asia, for East Asia &#8211; towards establishing a regional peace, human security and cooperation framework, which is disentangled from the current US-led military-dependent security approach. In this process, it is important to recognize the crucial role Article 9 of Japan¡¯s Constitution has played as a foundation for peace and stability in East Asia, as attested by the international attention received for its nomination for this year¡¯s Nobel Peace Prize.

Akira Kawasaki is Executive Committee member of Peace Boat and one of the initiators of the Global Article 9 Campaign. He currently acts as Chair of the Studies Group on Right to Collective Self-Defense and lectures at Rikkyo University, Tokyo. An expert in nuclear disarmament, he is an International Steering Group member of ICAN and served as a NGO advisor to the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND) in 2009-2010.

C?line Nahory is International Coordinator for Peace Boat and the Global Article 9 Campaign. She also serves as Asia/International Representative in the Council of the International Peace Bureau. She has worked for fifteen years with NGOs in the US, Japan and India, carrying out research and running advocacy campaigns on issues of peace, security, disarmament, human rights and sustainable development.
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