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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 25 - May 8  > 60,000 people rally in Tokyo to defend Article 9 on Constitution Memorial Day
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2018 April 25 - May 8 TOP3 [POLITICS]

60,000 people rally in Tokyo to defend Article 9 on Constitution Memorial Day

May 4, 2018

On May 3 (Constitution Memorial Day), the day marking the 71st anniversary of the entry into force of the postwar Constitution, nationwide actions such as rallies and marches took place to shatter Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s dream to change the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.

In Tokyo, holding placards, reading, “No to Article 9 revision!”, “Resign, Abe Cabinet!”, 60,000 people, including families with children, assembled in a park in Koto Ward and expressed their determination to protect the 71-year-old pacifist Constitution. The rally was hosted by an organizing committee composed of trade unions and pro-constitution civic groups.

Appearing on the stage, organizing committee members, scholars, and journalists as well as representatives of the Japanese Communist Party and other opposition parties spoke to the gathering.

JCP Chair Shii Kazuo in his speech pointed out that PM Abe holds firm to his ambition to revise the Article 9 “No War” clause, while placing himself in an impossible impasse in political scenes nationally and internationally. Shii said, “Let us increase our joint efforts of opposition parties and concerned citizens on the single issue of blocking the Article 9 revision and foil the Abe regime and its attempt to amend the supreme law,” receiving a big round of applause.

Along with the JCP chair, opposition party leaders who delivered speeches included Edano Yukio of the Constitutional Democratic Party, Otsuka Kohei of the Democratic Party, and Mataichi Seiji of the Social Democratic Party. Liberal Party leader Ozawa Ichiro sent a message of support to the rally.

The vice president of the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) who is on the organizing committee, Nagao Yuri, explained the current situation of the 30 million-signature campaign calling to protect the Constitution and stated that the number of signatures reached 13.5 million as of April 30.

A 46-year-old woman living in Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture took part in the rally with her husband and nine-year-old daughter. She said, “PM Abe should stop using North Korea as a pretext to change the pacifist clause and instead open a dialogue with that nation. It is Japan’s duty to maintain Article 9 and renounce war.”

Meanwhile, on the same day, Prime Minister Abe just like last year sent a video message to a rally co-hosted by an experts’ group in favor of constitutional amendment and a civic group linked to the ultra-rightist Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference).

Former Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro, who heads a revisionist Dietmembers’ group, also gave a message of support at the rally.

Past related article:
> JCP Koike denounces Abe’s call for legitimizing SDF [May 5, 2017]
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