Article 9 as a Mechanism for Peace
Following the end of the war, Japan acquired its Self-Defense Forces (SDF). Article 9 does not allow the maintenance of any war potential, and thus prohibits Japan to have any military forces. However, the SDF continue to expand, and Japan’s military expenditure is now one of the highest in the world.
Some criticize that the principle of Article 9 is, in effect, not kept. Yet on the other hand, it is also true that Article 9 has acted as a restraint on the further militarization of Japan. Article 9 has also not allowed the SDF waging war outside of Japan. Even during the War in Iraq, despite its dispatch of its SDF to Iraq under US demands, Japan was unable to exercise any military force.
Furthermore, many of Japan’s policies and pacifist principles are based on Article 9. The Three Principles on Arms Export, for example, generally prohibiting the export of arms and weapons, is a progressive principle that does not see any other precedent in the world. The principle of Exclusively Defensive Defense and the interpretation not allowing Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense have also been maintained. Japan, with its experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has also the Non-Nuclear Three Principles, which prohibits the possession, production and introduction into its territory of nuclear weapons. These various principles have played an important role in the establishment of trust relationships between Japan and the people of Asia and the Pacific, and the international society.
In other words, Japan’s Article 9 is not simply a provision of the Japanese law, but is acting as an international peace mechanism by restraining war and an arms race. As its principle, the UN Charter calls for a peaceful resolution to conflicts; and Article 26 stipulates the minimization of the world’s resources to be used for military purposes. Japan’s Article 9 further strengthens this principle of the UN. Any revision or abandonment of Article 9 is connected to the loss of the above principles, and along with raising serious concerns for the security of the Asia Pacific region, and especially Northeast Asia, entails a grave impact on peace and security of the world.
“Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution has been the foundation for collective security for the entire Asia Pacific region.”
From the Global Action Agenda for the Global Partnership on the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC),
submitted to the UN Secretary-General in July 2005