- Title: Japanese pacifist a contender for Nobel Peace Prize
- Date: 1st October 2016
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (FILE - MAY 2013) (REUTERS) REPLICA OF THE JAPANESE CONSTITUTION TITLE READING (Japanese): "CONSTITUTION OF JAPAN" PAGES BEING FLIPPED PART OF THE CONSTITUTION READING (Japanese): "CHAPTER 2 - RENOUNCING WAR" & "ARTICLE NINE" HAND FLIPPING THROUGH PAGES
- Embargoed: 16th October 2016 12:04
- Keywords: Japan Article 9 constitution peace Nobel Peace Prize
- Location: TOKYO AND FUNABASHI, JAPAN
- City: TOKYO AND FUNABASHI, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA001526VKNB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A Japanese woman who has led a civil rights campaign to bring international attention to a dramatic change in Japan's defence policy is a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Thirty-eight-year-old mother and housewife Naomi Takasu came up with the idea to nominate the constitution's pacifist Article 9 and organized a movement with 15 other people.
Drafted by U.S. officials during a frantic week in February 1946 and based on principles set out by General Douglas MacArthur, supreme allied commander in Japan, the constitution renounced the right to wage war or maintain armed forces and enshrined democracy and human rights. Article 9 explicitly outlaws war as a means of settling international disputes.
"The Japanese people forever renounce war and the threat or use of force," the article says.
In the biggest change in Japan's defense policy since the creation of its post-war military in 1954, Japan's parliament voted into law a defense policy shift that could let troops fight overseas for the first time since World War Two.
Despite the passage of controversial national security bills in Japan, Takasu believes the movement will highlight the constitution - even if it doesn't win the Prize.
"It doesn't matter who wins the Prize - what is more important is to tell the people around the world how great the Japanese Pacifist Constitution is. Also we want to show that peace is something that each and every Japanese citizen is creating and that it is not something that it is given to us - we want to spread the spirit of the Japanese Constitution out to the world, and not just protect it," she said.
"The constitution is not yet compromised - it still stands as the supreme rule in this country and is strong enough to override any clashing legislations. I hope the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to encourage the efforts of the individuals who're struggling to preserve the Constitution that stand against wars," she added.
After Takasu was informed by the Norwegian Nobel Committee that only people or organisations can be nominated, she began to collect signatures from people who wanted to conserve the constitution and nominated the Japanese people as a whole for having kept the article intact for so long.
The group collected about 600,000 signatures through internet and from the people on the streets during 2015.
The legislation, pushed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to loosen the limits of the pacifist constitution on the military, triggered massive protests from ordinary citizens and others who say it violates Japan's pacifist constitution and could embroil Japan in U.S.-led conflicts 70 years of post-war peace.
Abe says the shift is vital to meet new challenges such as from a rising China.
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