What is Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan?
Article 9 as a Pledge to Asia and the World
1. 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.
2. In order 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.
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution was legislated in 1946, immediately following the end of the Second World War.
Prior to, and during the war, Japan colonized the Korean Peninsula, Taiwan, the islands in the Pacific, and invaded China and other countries in the Asia Pacific region. Japan is responsible for causing considerable harm to the people living in Asia, including inhumane atrocities; such as the coercion of labor, genocide, human experiments, and “comfort women” (sex slaves). 20 million people are said to have fallen victim. At the same time in Japan, an approximate 3 million people, many of them civilians, lost their lives in the air-raids, the ground war in Okinawa, and the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In the Potsdam Declaration (July 1945) Japan accepted at the end of the war, the wrongness of Japan’s war of aggression was confirmed. Article 9 was legislated under the understanding that the most effective means to guarantee Japan to never wage war again, was not to possess any war potential.
Article 9 was legislated in deep reflection of Japan’s war of aggression and colonial rule. Therefore, Article 9; the renunciation of war, and the prohibition of maintaining any war potential, is Japan’s pledge and vow to the people of Asia, the Pacific, and the world, to never again repeat its mistakes.
Furthermore, in order for Japan to have fulfilled its war responsibility, it must have fully compensated for its past and must have apologized to the victims in Asia. It is only the least of fulfilling its war responsibilities for Japan to uphold its vow of never again waging war. We believe, that for this, and to stand by its pledge to the people of Asia, the Pacific, and the world, Japan must uphold and build on Article 9.