Proposal toward a “world without nuclear weapons or war”
1) Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (JALANA), convinced that “human beings cannot coexist with nuclear weapons or nuclear energy,” aims to realize a “world without nuclear weapons or war” as lawyers of the only country to have suffered wartime atomic bombings on its cities.
Article 9 paragraph 1 of the Constitution of Japan renounces war as follows: 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.
Its paragraph 2 provides non-possession of the armed forces as follows: 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;
and denies the right of belligerency as follows: The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.
The non-possession of the armed forces and the denial of right of belligerency set forth in Article 9 paragraph 2 of the Japanese Constitution is a provision aiming at a “world without nuclear weapons or war” in the “nuclear age,” renouncing not only war but also “war potential” as means of warfare and the “right of belligerency.”
2) The background of this provision is the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945. In August 1946, then Minister Kijuro Shidehara explained the renunciation of war potential to be written in the Article 9 paragraph 2 as follows: “War would annihilate the civilization unless the civilization annihilates war immediately, because atomic bombs have been discovered…Japan will vigorously lead the peace movement and go forward raising the big flag. If we renounce war, we will no longer need any kind of armaments.”
Then Japanese government predicted that the “civilization would be annihilated” if we resort to war in a bid to settle a dispute in the “nuclear age,” and therefore took a step forward to renounce the armed forces. Here is the pioneering wisdom and universality of Article 9 paragraph 2 of the Japanese Constitution.
3) By the way, any use of nuclear weapons no matter by intent or for any other reasons, would result in the “catastrophic humanitarian consequences,” (situations that pose grave implications for human survival, written in the Preamble to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons). The most effective way to avoid them is abolition of such arms. Nevertheless, nearly 15,000 nuclear warheads still exist.
The reason is that it is impossible to discard nuclear weapons as the “ultimate weapons” if one tries to resolve matters by force. The reliance on such weapons continues as long as use of force and possession of war potential are permitted whether for self-defense or for justice, then it is impossible to enjoy true world peace and security as long as nuclear weapons exist.
4) Therefore, the abolition of nuclear weapons necessitates denying any use of force and renouncing war potential for it. We recommend that the entire world step forward from prohibition of use of force to aim at renunciation of war potential and the right of belligerency as embodied in Article 9 paragraph 2 of the Japanese Constitution, in addition to abolition of nuclear weapons, the “ultimate weapons.”
April 19, 2019
President, Japan Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (JALANA)