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International Human Rights Day Celebration on December 5

VSA9 is endorsing this event. We hope many of the members will come. (Click on the image for a larger view.)


World Peace Forum Teach-In

World Peace Forum Teach-In 2009

The organization World Peace Forum is holding a Teach-in on Nov.
7, 8, 11. The theme is “1929-39: From Crash to
Catastrophe”. In this decade, the economic crash started in
1929 led to the catastrophic consequence, i.e., the Second World War.
Japan had a similar experience, and hence VSA9 is planning to hold a
small workshop focused on the Japanese experience at 2:30-4:00 on
Sunday, Nov. 8. The planned presentation includes a talk on the
overall view of the period, i.e., rise of fascism by Mr. Tatsuo Kage,
and a short movie titled “The Japanese who opposed the
war”. You are invited to attend this workshop as well as the
entire Teach-in. The details will be found in



Eiichiro Ochiai, 落合栄一郎
chair, VSA9


VSA9 Event Report - Yves Tiberghien's Talk in Chinese with English summary

Report by Arc Han

2009年10月28日晚,卑诗大学政治学系副教授Yves Tinbergen博士受温哥华九条会之邀,来到日裔中心作了题为鸠山内阁及今后日本的对外政策的演讲。
October 28th, Dr. Yves Tinbergen, associated professor of UBC political science department, gave a lecture on “The victory of DPJ and foreign policy of Hatoyama cabinet”.

The status of Article 9 is the most concern of our VSA9 members. DPJ has a complicated background. Its members include former right wing LDPist, or left wing Socialists. And voters believe DPJ is going to take a tougher position against the U.S. This leads to the thoughts that if Japan wants to become a “Normal nation” and gains more equal position with America, then the Article 9 shall be abolished. Therefore, there was a concern about the DPJ attitudes towards article 9. Dr. Yves’s data shows these concerns are not necessary. Over 75% DPJist against revising Article9.
Dr. Yves also pointed out that LDP tried to manipulate Article 9 issue and terribly lost in the 2007 HOC election. LDP should learn a lesson from this defeat and even they win their majority back later, they should not try to bring up the Article 9 issue again.

Such a result means Article 9 will be in safe at least for a while. This is the victory of the people’s will, I believe. Japanese voters expressed their support to Article 9 by their votes. This also indicates that Japan thinks a more equal Japan-US relation is not contradict to the non-military policy of Japan.

From Political theory point of view, the thought that Japan should abolish Article 9 and become a “normal state” is based on the traditional realism school of international relation. Realism school believes that IR is based on the military might of a state. Based on this theory, some Japanese politician think Japan lacks the leverage in the negotiation with other states, therefore, Japan should realize a military independence. Therefore, the Article 9 which limits the state sovereignty shall be abolished. The problem with this thinking is that the realism school of thinking has been proved as the sources of many violent conflicts in the 20th century, and it was the guiding thinking in the imperial Japan. Japan, as the aggressor and the final victim of the war, shall not repeat the old mistake. In the studies of IR, there are also Neo-liberalism, Constructivism schools which are more peaceful and humanistic.

I prefer to use Constructivism to understand international politics. The traditional realism school believe we are all living in a power-based Darwinian world, therefore, we need strong power to protect ourselves. Constructivism school believes that the International politics is not born as a power-based Darwinian world. It was because, since the beginning, we tended to think others in a negative way. We tended to distrust others and be aggressive to each other, therefore our world really becomes a power-based Darwinian world. In other words, we constructed the power-based world. On the contrary, if we all could think about others in a positive way, trust each other and cooperate, our world today might be different.
This is why Article 9 is important to human beings. The history of the past 400 years demonstrated that realism school is the reality of international politics. In the past 400 years, along with the development of European industrial civilization and the expansion of capitalism, the realism school has been accepted by all countries over the world. It becomes the dominant theory of international politics. But the history of the 20th century also proved that realism understanding only can lead countries to conflicts and wars. After WWII, many countries already realized that this understanding can only leads us to a devastation, therefore many of them start some practices which can limit the military power of states and re-establish the trust-relationship between nations. Article 9 of Japan is definitely an eye-catching experiment among these road-finding practices.

因此,保持宪法九条的努力可以理解为新的国际关系理论对旧有的达尔文主义的理论的挑战。保持宪法九条的胜利标志着对过去四百年间人类政治思想哲学的反思,和在世界范围内开创一种完全不同的人际/国际关系的胜利。如果保持宪法九条的斗争失败了,那么我想我会真的悲观绝望,从而像Hans Morgenthau宣称的那样,认为人的本性就是如此无可救药的。
Therefore, the efforts of defending article 9 can be understood as the new generation of international political theory challenging the old Darwinian Realism. The victory of defending Article 9 is a symbol of how we re-think about the political philosophy of the past 400 years. It is also an experiment of making a new inter-personal and international relationship. If we failed to defend Article 9, I think I would be really disappointed and pessimistic--and I would really become a believer of Hans Morgenthau who claimed that human nature is really that hopeless.

This theory also applies to China. Generally, China is regarded as the next hegemony which will replace America. Realism school has a very pessimistic Hegemony changing theory--the change of hegemony powers will definitely leads to world wars. But according to constructivists, it is not necessarily true. The future Chinese policies are still under our construction. If China repeated the old way of colonialism and imperialism, then the realists prediction might become true. But it is also possible that China can learn a lesson from the history and walk to a peaceful rising (the words Hu Jintao used in the ASEAN +3 summit) and peaceful co-existing way. This also requires that people out of China don’t initially interpret The China’s rising in a negative way--because this would only make China to distrust others and think others negatively in return, then we would repeat the old way of distrust and conflicts as we did in the last 400 years.

The East Asia Community proposal by PM Hatoyama is another efforts to win trust from other Asian countries. I give my full supports to this idea. As part of the strategy, the Article 9 should definitely be maintained in the Constitution. It is hard to believe that Japan could win the trust of China and Korea if Japan deleted Article 9. Article 9 is the necessary condition of the East Asia Community.

Arc Han is a University of British Columbia student majoring in International Relations, and a member of Vancouver Save Article 9.