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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 November 1 - 7  > Culture Day, the day of freedom and peace
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2017 November 1 - 7 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]
editorial 

Culture Day, the day of freedom and peace

November 3, 2017
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

November 3 in Japan is the "Day of Culture". Declaring "the love of freedom and peace and the promotion of culture", the national holiday was established in 1948 in honor of the postwar Constitution which was issued on this day two years earlier. No time would be more important than now to go back to this fundamental point.

In June this year, parliamentarians in the Diet unanimously amended the old law for the promotion of culture and the arts for the first time in 16 years. The revised act in its preamble stipulates that the importance of "freedom of expression" shall deeply "be recognized as the foundation of culture and art" in order to promote the country's culture and the arts.

The Japanese Communist Party, at all-party discussions held to prepare a revision bill, repeatedly demanded that a new law incorporate the phrase "freedom of expression" based on Article 21 of the Constitution and the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of the Artist.

Prime Minister Abe's runaway policies that undermine Japan's constitutionalism, however, are threatening the right to freedom of expression, casting a shadow over creative endeavors in culture and the arts. The governing force in the last ordinary session of the Diet steamrollered through the controversial "anti-conspiracy" law which likely will violate people's freedom of expression.

The state secrecy act, forcibly enacted in 2013, also goes against people's right to have access to information as well as against freedom of speech and the press. Since then, a series of infringements on freedom of expression have taken place at public facilities around Japan. Several community centers and galleries refused to display some works without reasonable grounds. For example, in April this year, the Gunma prefecture-owned Modern Art Museum removed from the gallery an art work in the motif of a monument to the victims of wartime Korean forced laborers.

Such a move curtails artistic activities free from any restrains from power. Only by abolishing the unconstitutional secrecy law and the anti-conspiracy law and by protecting freedom of expression as the new law on culture and the arts stipulates can culture and the arts become free to be richly expressive. To achieve this, the JCP will work hand in hand with people in various strata, including with cultural figures and academics.

Past related articles:
> JCP voted for culture & arts law stipulating freedom of expression [July 21, 2017]
> Art work praying for wartime Korean victims removed from Gunma museum against artist’s will [June 23, 2017]
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