Sunday, October 11, 2009

Revisiting the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Nomination of Yoshioka Tatsuya & the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War

Early this year, a past Nobel Peace laureate nominated Yoshioka Tatsuya and the Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War--a global movement composed of dozens of Japanese organizations and hundreds of other organizations worldwide--for the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in raising the profile of legal mechanisms for disarmament and non-violence at a national and international level and promoting active and creative debate and momentum for disarmament and the abolition of war:
Yoshioka Tatsuya, co-founder and director of the Japan-based international organization Peace Boat, initiated the Campaign, and is one of its three co-chairs.

Born in l960 in Osaka, Japan, Yoshioka has maintained a life-long commitment to nonviolence and the peace movement. While a student at Tokyo’s Waseda University, where he specialized in Asian Studies, he become involved as a full-time volunteer in the solidarity movement for South Korean democratization, and campaigned against the death penalty for Kim Dae Jung.

Through Peace Boat, he has continued to lead peace activities and peace education, including contributing to civil society networking through conducting over 40 global peace voyages. Yoshioka was also the Northeast Asia regional initiator for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), and is a leader of the GPPAC network, especially in Northeast Asia. Yoshioka and the Global Article 9 Campaign continue to strive to create a non-military legal framework for peace and disarmament.

The Global Article 9 Campaign to Abolish War was founded in Tokyo in 2005, by the Japan-based international NGO, Peace Boat, and the Japan Lawyers’ International Solidarity Association. (JALISA).

Article 9 of Japan’s constitution renounces war as a means of settling international disputes and prohibits the maintenance of armed forces and other war potential. The campaign – formed in response to recent remilitarists' calls for to abolish the peace clause – strives to protect Article 9 locally and to build an international movement supporting Article 9 as the shared property of the world. The campaign calls for a global peace that does not rely on force, and works to shift the world from military reliance to a peaceful and sustainable global society.

With the fundamental belief that Article 9 has – despite failings in its implementation – been a successful mechanism for conflict prevention in East Asia and therefore can provide a working model to the world for state-level nonviolence and disarmament, the campaign has generated widespread awareness and debate about nonviolence in Japan and beyond. Its message significant in East Asia that remains divided along Cold War lines and in other parts of the world where there is extreme tension between nations.

Article 9 is extremely important in its very existence, given that it signals a grassroots recognition of the importance of a non-militarized Japan and a desire for people-to-people healing of the traumatic wounds of the Second World War, contributing to authentic and meaningful reconciliation in East Asia.

No comments: