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Japan’s new law lacks moral principle

NIIGATA (SE): “What made me sad while observing the debate on the bills in the parliament was the absence of moral principle among our politicians while talking about an issue related to human life,” Bishop Isao Kikuchi, from Niigata in Japan, said on the day that the Diet in Tokyo passed controversial amendments to Article Nine of the nation’s constitution approving the possibility of Japan once again going to war in defence of a nominated allay.

However, he added, “It is not the end of our effort to establish real peace.”

The upper house of Japan’s Diet passed the bill 148 to 90 at 2.30am on September 19, abolishing the historic Peace Constitution that the tens of thousands of people demonstrating daily outside the Diet Building sought to support.

The reinterpretation of the words self-defence had been at the centre of bitter protests throughout the Land of the Rising Sun, as newspaper polls continually showed huge condemnation of the now-approved bill and more than half of the population expecting their country to be at war in the future.

“Yes, Japan has made an historical change of direction in its national security policy since the end of World War II,” Bishop Kikuchi continued. “But at the same time, we all knew this might come sooner or later, as the present government has a very strong majority in both houses of the Diet.”

Bishop Kikuchi continued, “Based on my experiences as a missionary in Africa and also as a Caritas Japan coordinator, I do understand that the Church should not be naïve to the reality of international politics and national security issues.”

He added, “However, at the same time, the Church should not be so intimidated by these realities to fail to manifest moral principles based on the faith. Human life is at stake. It is not only a matter of protecting the human life of our country, but also caring for the entire population of human beings. The Church has to speak up whenever there is any slight possibility in the political system to disregard or deny the dignity of human life.”

He said that the Church in Japan will continue to raise its voice in order to remind politicians and the general public that what is really at stake is the protection of all life, as the challenge is to protect all of creation and not trample on or destroy it with weapons of violence.

He pointed out that the vast scale of demonstrations in the streets of the nation’s capital city are a rarity in Japan, but added that he hopes people will continue to be watchful of the government in regard to all peace issues and pray that the nation’s leaders will in future be more humble in listening to the voices of the people.

Meanwhile, Beijing called the move of the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, an aggression aimed at circumscribing China’s rising influence in the eastern Asian region.

On June 4, three highly respected constitutional lawyers in Japan questioned the legitimacy of the July 2014 cabinet decision to formulate the bills and said that the new legislation would be unconstitutional. Their view was backed up by a majority of legal and constitutional scholars in the country.

Critics of the new legislation say that Article Nine represented a lot more than a piece of legislation, but was a witness to nuclear free zones, the right of the people to enjoy peace and an education for the world in peace-making.


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