March 30, 2017

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Civil Society Movement Against the Exercise of the Right to Collective Self- Defense

After the end of WWII, support for pacifism spread amongst the Japanese people and significant numbers of citizens came to oppose military action even in the case of self-defense. At present there is significant popular opposition to re-establishing the right to collective self-defense as governmental policy. This became especially clear after the decision taken by the Abe administration in July 2014. A number of civic organizations have been created in response. One of the most famous civic organizations is The Article 9 Association, which was founded by prominent writers such as a Nobel Laureate novelist Kenzaburo Oe and Hisashi Inoue. Another organization was founded by blind people. Another example is Peace of Women founded by former professor of Chuo University, Sonoko Yokoyu. Peace of Women was named after the Greek play of the same name in which women in Sparta used public protests to oppose men in Athens and to voice their support for ending the war in which their state was engaged. Another inspiration of the organization is The Red Stocking Movement in Iceland in the 1970’s in which women refused to do housework and united in front of the presidential building. They called for public recognition of the important role women played in Icelandic society. One worry expressed by these organizations is that even providing non-lethal aid to US counter-terrorism operations might incite retaliatory attacks against Japan.

(Source: Tokyo Shimbun January 16, 2015).

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