For English articles, click HERE. 日本語投稿はこちらをどうぞ。点击此处观看中文稿件


Upcoming Events in New York

There will be numerous events happening in New York in May, related to the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. About 100 Hibakusha (a-bomb survivors) will be there to call for nuclear abolition.

Vancouver Save Article 9 is one of the endorsing organizations of the NGO Conference in New York "Disarm! Now," which will take place on April 30 and May 1 at Riverside Church, New York. About 1,000 delegates from all around the world will gather to call for a sustainable world without nuclear weapons.

VSA9, Peace Philosophy Centre and Hiroshima's NGO HANWA (Hiroshima Alliance for Nuclear Weapons Abolition) will offer a workshop on May 1.

"Atomic Bombings and Indiscriminate Attacks On Civilians "

Also, Peace Philosophy Centre is one of the co-sponsors of Symposium "The Wisdom of the Survivor"to take place at Schimmel Theater, at Pace University in Lower Manhattan.

The bilingual version (English and Japanese) of the program is here:

I hope those of you who have friends, family, and colleagues in New York will spread the word.

Satoko Norimatsu
Director, VSA9


Okinawa marines said dispensable

Rarely in the Japanese media we see this well-researched, well-balanced article like this.

Okinawa marines said dispensable
Analysts say force levels have been greatly reduced and question their role as a deterrent

Kyodo News
The clock is ticking for Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama as he works to decide where to relocate the controversial U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, but there has been little discussion regarding whether it is reasonable to assert that the presence of the marines in Okinawa is indispensable.

Military experts in Japan say the number of marines actually stationed in Okinawa has been much smaller in recent years than the formal tally, prompting some to doubt whether keeping many marines there would act as a deterrent.

In February, a top marine commander came to Tokyo and made a pitch for the importance of the marines' presence in terms of the fundamental nature of the 1960 bilateral security treaty.

During a U.S. Embassy-organized gathering, Lt. Gen. Keith Stalder, commander of the Marine Corps' Pacific force, said the current deployment of marines in Okinawa is "the perfect model" to support the bilateral alliance's objectives of "deterring, defending and defeating potential adversaries."

"Our service members are prepared to risk their lives in defense of Japan. . . . Japan does not have a reciprocal obligation to defend the United States" under the treaty, Stalder said.

"In return for U.S. defense guarantees, Japan provides bases, opportunities to train and, in more recent times, financial support," he said.

Stalder said the United States "accepts this asymmetry" but hinted Washington wants Tokyo to always keep this in mind.

But military analyst Shoji Fukuyoshi has his doubts, saying the deployment of marines in Okinawa has been "hollowed out."

The United States says the full strength of the marines in Okinawa is around 18,000, while the prefectural government says the number is actually about 12,000.

Many ground units do not remain in Okinawa on a regular basis but rotate to the prefecture, local government officials said, adding some of the units have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fukuyoshi said the U.S. side claims it has four infantry battalions in Okinawa, but three of them, with a total of around 2,000 members, have been away from the island since 2003.

Under the current bilateral agreement on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, around 8,000 marines in Okinawa will be transferred to Guam and the remaining 10,000 will theoretically remain in the prefecture.

The U.S. Marine Corps has three expeditionary forces and Okinawa is the only location outside of the U.S. mainland that hosts one of them, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, which manages facilities including the Futenma air station — the base at the center of the controversy between Japan and the United States. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. service personnel stationed in Okinawa are marines.

But there is a view that only the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, which has about 2,200 members, could deal with an emergency by boarding four amphibious assault ships in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture.

Security experts say marine units should stay in Okinawa for purposes such as providing ground force presence, rescuing civilians in an emergency on the Korean Peninsula, antiterrorism operations in Asia and disaster relief activities.

But Masaaki Gabe, an expert on international politics, said, "The U.S. Navy and Air Force in Japan could be seen as a deterrent. But I don't see meaning in keeping the marines."


In Memory of Inoue

Inoue was one of the founding members of Article 9 Association, like Kato Shuichi and Oda Makoto, who also passed away recently. (photo from the Article 9 Association website)

VSA9 produced a play reading "The Face of Jizo" by Inoue in June, 2006, as part of the World Peace Forum. (photo by Nishimura Makoto, Kyodo News)

Inoue will be remembered forever.

Asahi Editorial April 13, 2010

An extraordinary comedy writer and a modern-day popular writer. A man of knowledge and fountain of wisdom. An observer of the times. A pro-Constitution pacifist, activist and intellectual.

Hisashi Inoue, who died last Friday at age 75, was all these things--and more. But there was just one thread that tied his many activities together, and that was his determination to rely on his own eyes and head to deliver his messages to his audience in simple language.

Inoue's novels and plays deal with profound subjects, but all are easy to read and understand. That was because he focused on the core or essence of each subject, refined it with great care and chose the most appropriate language and style in which to package his product.

To make this possible, Inoue collected every bit of research material he could lay his hands on, pored over the materials and thought them through. He expended tremendous time and energy in his quest to establish his own paradigm of history and the workings of the world.

Such a fastidious approach to his profession was not unrelated to his background.

Born in 1934, Inoue was 5 years old when he lost his father, a leftist activist. He was 10 at the end of World War II, and spent his boyhood in an atmosphere of postwar liberalism. His home of many years was a Catholic institution for children, where he lived until he graduated from senior high school.

Inoue began writing and submitting his works to literary contests in hopes of winning prize money. He got his training as a skit writer at a strip-tease joint in Tokyo's Asakusa district. He also wrote scripts for TV shows when television was still in its infancy as a mass communication medium.

And when he debuted as a playwright, he chose comedy as his genre, even though it was still considered out of the mainstream in the theatrical world.

Anything but an Establishment elite, Inoue was a writer born from the undulating waves of populism of his era. And precisely because of this, he understood the necessity of depending on his own eyes and using his own head to learn from history, lest he make the mistake of getting caught unawares and being swept away in a surge of some "wrong" wave of history that might again engulf the nation.

In particular, Inoue persisted in questioning what World War II had been really about.

"Yami ni Saku Hana" (A flower blooming in the dark) is a play about Class B and C war criminals, and its protagonist is a young World War II veteran. A line in this play goes: "It's wrong to forget what happened. It's even more wrong to pretend to forget."

From 2001 to 2006, Inoue worked on a series of three plays written for New National Theatre, Tokyo. Collectively known as "Tokyo Saiban Sanbu-saku" (Tokyo war crimes trial trilogy), the plays deal with the issue of war responsibility of ordinary Japanese citizens.

Inoue called the Tokyo tribunal "a flawed gemstone." But despite the flaw, he evaluated it highly for enabling the Japanese people to learn their nation's hidden history from classified government documents submitted to the tribunal.

In part of the serial run of the three plays at New National Theatre, Tokyo, Part One of the trilogy started last Thursday. Inoue died the following day, right after the curtain came down on the play amid thunderous applause.

"If we continue to disrespect the past, the future will eventually disrespect us," Inoue commented concerning this play. These became his final words for the public.

Inoue's entire life was spent creating a vast "universe of words." The constellations that shimmer there will continue to entertain us. They will also be our guiding stars as we journey through life.

--The Asahi Shimbun, April 13


Records show Japan collaborated with U.S. to have base presence ruled Constitutional砂川事件:「跳躍上告検討」など外務省公開文書に協議内容

Mainichi Shimbun - April 8, 2010
Records show Japan collaborated with U.S. to have base presence ruled Constitutional

Gentaro Tsuchiya, left, and Shigeru Sakata show off copies of the document, released by the Foreign Ministry. (Mainichi)After a district court ruled in 1959 that the U.S. military presence in Japan was unconstitutional, Tokyo told Washington that it was considering skipping normal procedures and directly appealing the case to the Supreme Court to have the ruling reversed, it has been learned.

The information comes from a group of former defendants in the case, which is known as the "Sunagawa Case," who disclosed the details of a now declassified document they received from the Foreign Ministry. The document shows that Japanese and U.S. officials held secret consultations in a desperate bid to nullify the ruling as quickly as possible.

The document contains a record of a meeting between then Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama and then U.S. Ambassador to Japan Douglas MacArthur II on April 1, 1959, only two days after the Tokyo District Court ruling.

At the beginning of the meeting, Fujiyama promised to continue efforts to revise the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty despite the ruling.

He then told MacArthur that Japan was considering appealing the district court ruling to the Supreme Court, skipping a high court.

When MacArthur then asked Fujiyama what the prospects were for such a maneuver, Fujiyama responded that he had heard that the Supreme Court would place priority on the case, but it would still take three or four months before it handed down a ruling.

In April 2008, it was separately learned from a declassified U.S. document that MacArthur met with Fujiyama the day after the original ruling and recommended that Japan appeal directly to the Supreme Court. However, the Foreign Ministry has denied that it has any record of this meeting.

"It's impossible that this record does not exist. We'll ask for it again," said one of the former defendants, Gentaro Tsuchiya, 75.

"I want to use all my power to continue getting the release of important documents as long as I'm alive," said another defendant, 80-year-old Shigeru Sakata.

Tsuchiya and Sakata were among seven protesters indicted for trespassing on a U.S. base in Tachikawa, western Tokyo, in 1957. However, in March 1959 the Tokyo District Court acquitted all, ruling that the U.S. military presence in Japan was unconstitutional.

Prosecutors appealed the case directly to the Supreme Court, skipping the Tokyo High Court. The Supreme Court overturned the district court's decision in December 1959.

The Supreme Court's ruling came only a month before the January 1960 revision to the bilateral security treaty. It is likely that Tokyo and Washington were attempting to annul the lower court decision before the treaty revision.

毎日新聞 4月8日







Support for Constitution Rising 読売新聞憲法世論調査










(2010年4月9日08時03分 読売新聞)


U.N. chief to visit Hiroshima on Aug. 6

U.N. chief to visit Hiroshima on Aug. 6

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has decided to visit Hiroshima on Aug. 6 as the Japanese city marks the 65th anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombing, according to a senior U.N. official.
The plan, expected to be formalized around July, would make Ban the first U.N. chief to attend an annual commemorative ceremony at the city's Peace Memorial Park.

At this year's memorial ceremony, Ban will pledge to continue striving to achieve U.S. President Barack Obama's stated goal of building a world without nuclear weapons, the U.N. official told Kyodo News on condition of anonymity.

Ban's visit to Hiroshima is expected to provide impetus for Obama to visit the world's first atom-bombed city in western Japan and Nagasaki, the other bombed city.

Asked about the possibility of his trip to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in an interview with Kyodo News last December, Ban said he had received an invitation from the mayors of both cities, adding his attendance at a memorial ceremony would be ''quite an important occasion.''

The U.N. official said Ban is expected to also visit Tokyo during his August trip to Japan but will not travel to Nagasaki due to a tight schedule. Ban is expected to stay in Japan for two or three days.

Ban has already informed the Japanese government of his plan to visit Japan and arrangements for the trip will begin soon, the U.N. official said.

If their schedules allow, Ban is eager to meet Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama during his stay in Japan.

On Aug. 6 last year, Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, president of the U.N. General Assembly and a Roman Catholic priest, attended the Hiroshima memorial ceremony.

Global efforts for nuclear disarmament have gathered momentum after U.S. President Obama appealed for a world without nuclear weapons in a speech in Prague in April last year.

''The United States has a moral responsibility to act'' as the only nuclear power to have used nuclear weapons and the country will ''take concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons,'' Obama said.

Meeting with the Hiroshima mayor in Washington in January this year, Obama expressed willingness to visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki without referring to the timing of his possible visit.
But it is uncertain whether he can do so at an early date, as such a visit would be likely to attract criticism in the United States, where many people believe the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were necessary to bring World War II to an end.



Document Revealing Secret Meeting to Overturn the "Unconstitutional" Ruling of US Military Bases in Japan 1959年 在日米軍違憲判決を覆した日米密議


Did you know that back in 1959, US military bases in Japan were deemed unconstitutional at Tokyo District Court? Two days after the ruling, then US ambassador and Japan's Foreign Minister had a secret meeting and Tokyo appealed at the Supreme Court, which overturned the district court's decision. That was right before the 1960 renewal of AMPO, Japan-US Security Treaty. In the 50th anniversary of AMPO, government is only talking about "deepening" of the bilateral military alliance. We citizens need to go back to the 1959 ruling and question the constitutionality of the US bases before we celebrate this Treaty based on such a deceitful political intervention with court by the two governments.

Documents confirm 1959 Japan-U.S. secret meeting over court case

Mainichi Newspaper on April 3, 2010

In a drastic turnaround, the Foreign Ministry has acknowledged the existence of documents on a secret meeting between Japan and the United States following a 1959 court decision that ruled the U.S. military's presence in Japan unconstitutional.

The ministry disclosed the documents to one of the former defendants in the so-called Sunagawa Case, in which anti-base demonstrators accused of trespassing on a U.S. military base in western Tokyo were acquitted after a court ruled the base unconstitutional. The decision was later overturned by the Supreme Court and the defendants convicted.

Shortly after the initial ruling, the then U.S. ambassador to Japan met with the Japanese foreign minister and the Supreme Court chief justice, but the Foreign Ministry had denied there were any documents left regarding the meetings.

The latest revelation underscores the ministry's reluctance to comply with the principle of information disclosure, following a recent finding that the ministry may have discarded some of the important documents related to secret pacts made between Japan and the United States during the Cold War.

The documents related to the secret bilateral meeting over the Sunagawa Case were disclosed on Friday evening to Shigeru Sakata, 80, a resident of Kawasaki, who along with 40 supporters had filed a request for their disclosure following the change of regime in September last year.

"We need to scrutinize the content (of the documents), but it's a step forward," said Sakata.

Sakata is among the former defendants accused of trespassing on a U.S. military base in Tachikawa, Tokyo, while they staged a protest against the base's expansion in July 1957. Out of the 23 demonstrators who were arrested in September the same year seven were indicted, but all were acquitted by the Tokyo District Court in March 1959 after the court ruled the U.S military's presence unconstitutional. However, prosecutors appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which overturned the lower court decision in December 1959.

Since the Supreme Court decision came shortly before the January 1960 revision to the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, suspicions were raised that Tokyo and Washington rushed to settle the case by annulling the lower court decision ahead of the bilateral security arrangement amendments.

In April 2008, it emerged through U.S. official documents that then U.S. Ambassador to Japan Douglas MacArthur II met with Japanese Foreign Minister Aiichiro Fujiyama over the district court ruling and urged Tokyo to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. The U.S. documents also revealed that MacArthur discussed the timetable of the appeals hearing with then Supreme Court chief justice Kotaro Tanaka.

Sakata and others filed a request for the disclosure of information over the issue in March last year, but the Justice Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet Office and the Supreme Court all replied by May last year that there were no documents regarding the meetings with the U.S. ambassador.

Following the change of government in September last year, the petitioners once again filed a request for information disclosure in October, after Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada ordered a survey into Japan-U.S. secret pacts on the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan and other issues. Although the Justice Ministry, the Cabinet Office and the Supreme Court insisted on nondisclosure in November, the Foreign Ministry pledged to "continue to investigate the case" while saying they "could not identify the documents at this moment" in its reply on Dec. 25.

The documents that were disclosed to Sakata on Friday evening came in 34 pages, handwritten and sealed as "confidential," and are titled "minutes from a meeting between Minister Fujiyama and the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo." The meeting took place in April 1959, only two days after the Tokyo District Court ruling. Lawyers and others from a group supporting Sakata will analyze the details of the documents.

Gentaro Tsuchiya, 75, a resident of Shizuoka and another former defendant of the Sunagawa Case, said: "Due to the heightened public attention on the bilateral secret pacts issue, the Foreign Ministry may have had no choice but to give serious consideration (to the disclosure of the documents)."

砂川事件判決:日米密談の文書存在 外務省が一転開示

毎日新聞 2010年4月3日










1957年7月 米軍立川基地にデモ隊が立ち入る

   9月 23人が刑事特別法違反容疑で逮捕。後に7人が同罪で起訴

 59年3月 東京地裁が「米軍駐留は違憲」として7人に無罪判決(伊達判決)

   4月 検察側が最高裁に跳躍上告

   12月 最高裁、1審を破棄、差し戻しを命じる

 60年1月 日米安保条約改定

 61年3月 東京地裁、7人に罰金2000円の判決

 63年12月 最高裁、上告棄却を決定。有罪確定

2008年4月 59年の最高裁判決の前に駐日米大使と最高裁長官が密談していたことが米側公文書で判明

 09年3月 元被告らが日本側の記録開示を4機関に請求。5月までに「文書不存在」として不開示

   10月 元被告らが再度、4機関に開示請求

   11月 内閣府など3機関が同様理由で不開示

 10年3月 外務省が開示と通知