“Force against terrorism only ends up generating new terrorism” --- OVERSEAs is now acting! Stop the “Galapagos bill” which ignores world trends!

On August 28th, 2015, before massive protests around the Diet Building on the 30th, a press conference was held by “OVERSEAs-PEACE for World,” an organization of Japanese living abroad fighting against the security-related legislation, which enables the use of collective self-defense right.

The three founders of OVERSEAs – Yukiko Takei, Yuki Nakamizo, and Shin Yamaaki --- attended the conference. Inspired by the many protesters and protest groups across the country including SEALDs, MIDDLEs and TOLDs, Takei called for the foundation of OVERSEAs in mid-August. In just a single week after its foundation, about 400 people had joined their closed group page on Facebook.

As of 13:00 on September 20th, OVERSEAs has got 2727 “Like”s on their Facebook community page (https://www.facebook.com/OVERSEAs発信版-980605138640687/timeline/) and 1,250 web signatures on their petition website (http://www.overseas-no9.net/). They are considering submitting the signatures to the Japanese consulates overseas.

In the protests on August 30th, they carried out a standing demonstration near the Diet Building holding the blue placards of OVERSEAs. Also, their supporters in Berlin and New York joined the protests with the same placards. They posted photographs of their actions on Facebook to demonstrate their worldwide solidarity.

Viewed from abroad, we can see that “Japan is safe because it is considered to be a ‘weak country’ which cannot take military action.”

Yukiko Takei is a lawyer, who occasionally holds the “Constitution Café” events as a member of the Association of Young Lawyers Defending Tomorrow’s Freedoms, and watches over SEALDs as a member of Watching Lawyers. Having once worked for a general trading company, she says, “When you consider peace and security, you need to think about our relationships with foreign countries.”

Those who advocate changes to the collective self-defense legislation emphasize the “threat of China” and argue for the necessity of military buildup. But she questions that argument, saying, “For Japan there is no point in making war against China, which is one of Japan’s biggest trading partners.”

Takei also says, “Japan is safe precisely because it is ‘weak.’” What does this mean?

Now, the nature of wars and conflicts around the world is changing from “country against country” to “country against (cyber) terrorism.” The aim of terrorists is to defeat “strong countries” like the United States. She argues that in such a worldwide trend a “weak country” like Japan, which has abandoned arms, is less likely to be targeted by terrorists, and therefore, is safer.

It is true that modern-day terrorism is conducted in the form of guerrilla warfare, in which overwhelmingly militarily (and also politically and economically) weaker groups attack stronger powers.

This may result in those “strong countries” being forced to spend much money, and as a result, end up reconsidering their policies. That is exactly what the terrorists is looking for. Not to beat, to conquer or to rule the powers.

Takei has, in fact, seen many Americans hiding their passports trying to conceal their nationality in airports and on board airplanes. Americans are likely to be targeted just for “being Americans.”

On the other hand, Takei has been proud to show that she is “Japanese.” So far, most Japanese residents in foreign countries have lived safely without being targeted by any specific political groups, because we have not killed anyone in war with other countries for 70 years due to Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

However, our security notion that “we are safe because we are Japanese” will begin to disappear when Japan enhances its military power and takes part in U.S.-led wars, and rapidly so.

Since the start of the Abe administration in December 2012, ten Nikki employees were among 40 foreigners who were kidnapped and killed by pro-al-Qaeda militants in Algeria in 2013. And in January 2015, two Japanese men were held hostage and killed by the terrorist group Islamic State (IS).

In the horrible execution of the hostage Goto, IS sent a frightening message saying, “(Prime Minister) Abe, with your reckless decision to participate in an unwinnable war, this knife not only will massacre (Goto) Kenji, but also continue and cause a bloodbath where your people are. Let the nightmare begin for Japan.”

Abe responded to this with a very belligerent and risky message, though sounding-brave; “To the terrorists, we will never, never forgive them for this act … Japan will never yield to terrorism ... (and) is firmly resolved to fulfill its responsibility in the international community's fight against terrorism.” The Japanese government could not do anything when its citizens were kidnapped. It could not save them. It could hardly even negotiate with the terrorists. It revealed that it was completely incompetent in protecting the lives and security of its citizens. And yet Abe blustered, “We will never forgive IS.”

Obviously, IS will not sit by and will send more hostile messages to the Japanese government. This exchange of bitter words could get worse, but those put at a greater risk of suffering serious harm are ordinary Japanese citizens.

Actually, according to the foreign press, Jumpei Yasuda, a Japanese freelance journalist is now being held hostage by an unknown group in Syria. But there has been little coverage of it in Japan. Many people believe that the incident might have something to do with the government’s, especially Abe’s, insensitive and overbearing attitude towards the Muslim extremists.

If the new collective self-defense legislation enables the use of force by the Self Defense Forces abroad, their potential enemies will certainly include such extremists. As a result, Japanese people would be much more likely to become their “targets.” Warning that Japanese people are about to throw away the wonderful fortune they are not even aware of owning, Takei and her partners say, “We are strongly against the collective self-defense bill which will never be conducive to peace in Japan and the world. We should contribute to the world through culture and economy, not military force.”


Original article written by Independent Web Journal
Translated by A. Tawara


California Scholars Rally Against Japan’s Proposed Security-related Bills on Aug. 27, 2015

A wave of protest is brewing at home and abroad. According to the Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-related Bills (ASOSB), a large number of scholars from over 100 universities both in Japan and overseas have released statements against the government-sponsored security bills now under deliberation in the Diet. One call to action was issued on August 27 by Keiko Yamanaka, a scholar at University of California, Berkley, and some others based at UCB/UCD asking for people in California was to join hands in protest against the bills. ASOSB is calling for broader support and signatures on a petition available on their website.


As scholars deeply concerned about Japan’s constitutionalism and its future, we declare our strong opposition to the so-called security-related bills that were passed by Japan’s Lower House on July 16, 2015. Proposed by the Abe government, these so-called security-related bills consist of 1) the International Peace Security Bill, and 2) the omnibus Peace and Security Legislation Consolidation Bill that amends 10 war-related laws. If passed by the Upper House this September, these bills would allow the Japanese government to send Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to cooperate with overseas military operations conducted by other countries. Many scholars of constitutional law have pointed out that these security-related bills are clearly in violation of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. By joining the efforts of the Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-related Bills (http://anti-security-related-bill.jp/images/link_california.pdf), we not only express our opposition to the Bills, but also urge other concerned scholars in California to voice their views. Please note that we are a group of scholars based in California who have chosen to express our opposition to the Security-Related Bills in Japan as individuals (See the next page for the list of signatories). The opinions expressed in this statement are those of the individuals, and they do not represent the views of the organizations and/or institutions of their affiliations. If you agree to sign this appeal, please contact one of the following: • Keiko Yamanaka (keikoyamanaka7[at]gmail.com) • Byung-Kwang Yoo (yoobk15[at]gmail.com) • Junko Habu (habujunko[at]gmail.com). In your message, please include the following information.


1. I agree to publicize the following information about myself 
  (Please check one of the boxes below):
   [      ] Name, academic discipline, title, department and university
   [      ] Name only
   [      ] None
2. Your Name:
3. Academic Discipline:
4. Title:
5. Department and University:
6. Date:
7. Comments (Optional):

See also a feature article (Call for Support: Sign the Appeal against the Security-Related Bills) on the W-WAN website.

Posted by Naoko Uchibori


“We Refuse Abe’s Politics” – Call for Action at 14:00 (German time) on August 15th, Saturday

ACTION: “We Refuse Abe’s Politics 0815” “Nein zu ABEs Politik 0815”

Date: Saturday 15th August
Time: 14:00 (German Time)

Let's wave placards!

Venue: In front of your house, in your house, in your office, etc. Take photos of your action and post them to Facebook.
FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/1614472758832999/

Placards: Japanese, German (Download from here.)


On 15th July, The Japanese Lower House steamrolled security bills which a number of constitutional scholars consider as unconstitutional. The majority of the Japanese citizens are opposed to the bills.

If the Upper House approves the bills, Japan would be able to use military forces when Japanese allies such as the United States are attacked even if Japan itself is not directly attacked. It would also be able to dispatch the Self-Defense Forces abroad to provide logistics support to the military of its allies when they claim they are working for an international peace-keeping operation.

It's a significant policy change for Japan, which, for so many years, has been a pacifist nation renouncing war. Some point out that Japan will run the risk of having nuclear power plants targeted by missiles.

As a reaction against Prime Minister Abe's brutal politics, Hisae Sawachi, a novelist, led a protest against the bills.

The Asahi Shimbun reported the protest.
Sawachi and those who agreed with her launched a website.
718 response: http://718yobi.blogspot.jp/

Protest against the Japanese Government (Abe's Regime) in Germany

In Japan, on 18th July, at 1 PM, protesters waved the same placard at more than 1000 sites throughout the country.

We are going to do the same action in Germany on 15th August.
If you can join us, let's bring placards and meet in front of the art museum, K20 GRABBEPLATZ (Grabbeplatz 5, 40213 Düsseldorf).

Original article: http://net.wan.or.jp/now/?p=1802
Abridged Translation: Atsuko Ishikawa


Speech by Mana Shibata, SEALDs

Speech by Mana Shibata 
SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy)
Tokyo, Friday, July 24, 2015

Good evening. I am Mana Shibata, a college junior.
I am here to read a letter I wrote to Mr. Shinzo Abe.

Dear Mr. Abe, I am filled with deep rage and despair toward you.
Your forced passage of the security legislation at the Special Committee in the Lower House could be called a coup d’etat. In Okinawa, you have set residents against each other and proceeded with the construction of a new base. In Kagoshima, you are preparing to restart the Sennai nuclear plant without sufficiently explaining your safety policy.

In northeast Japan, there are still many people who have been living in temporary shelters for more than four years. Can you really call this “our beautiful nation Japan”?

America builds bases all over the world “for freedom and democracy,” occupies conflict regions, threatens the lives of civilians, and ever since 9/11 has been repeatedly murdering people indiscriminately in its “war on terror.”

When Kenji Goto was killed, I remember how frightened I became, wondering whether Japan would start a war on terror like America.
But Japan did not take that path then, and it must not take it now.

As a nation who has suffered atomic bombing, as a nation which does not have a military force, as a nation which has Article 9 in its Constitution, we have the responsibility to think seriously about peace and continue peacebuilding. With the Constitution of Japan, we pledged that we would not repeat the experience of 70 years ago.

I do not need a future that depends on military force. A peace based on killing, I do not call peace. Someday I hope to give birth to my own children and raise them. But I do not have the confidence to raise children in our current society.

Mr. Abe, can you wipe away my fears? Can you call this a society where parents can feel secure raising their children? Can you promise the children of Fukushima a safe and healthy future? Can you return an island without bases to the grandfathers and grandmothers of Okinawa?

I am standing here now raising my voice because I want Japan to be a country that seeks peace and promotes it throughout the world when my children are born. I want to make this a society where we think about the future, cherish life, learn from previous generations. A society where it is common sense to value such common sense.

To me, peace is little pieces of happiness like returning after school to a home where my mother is waiting for me with dinner ready; seeing a baby in a stroller laugh, opening its mouth so wide I can see it still doesn’t have any teeth; calling my grandmother to say thank you for sending me money for my education; listening to music on the train that someone special told me about. That’s the kind of daily life I want to protect.

The current government, unable to protect the Constitution, says there is no other way, and tries to affirm the Abe administration. How can the government of such a country, which so casually violates its own Constitution, be a peacemaker in international society?

I truly cannot understand how people can behave so childishly in Diet sessions; compare war to a neighborhood fire; bury beautiful Oura Bay. I do not feel the tiniest bit of intelligence or compassion in a single one of your words or actions. I only feel that you are insulting me as a citizen of this country.

Mr. Abe, I can no longer leave the government of our country up to you. I want a democratic and peaceful tomorrow where every individual is valued. I don’t want to create such a tomorrow with you. I don’t think I can.

The view I see before me here gives me hope. I wish you would stand here and see it. The faces of the people who are taking action because they seriously care about this country’s future are full of strength and hope, surely tens of times more than the faces you see every day in Nagatacho.

Neither democracy nor the future of this nation are in your hands. They are to be won by those of us here.
July 24, 2015. I call on you to dissolve the Abe administration.

Original speech video is available in Japanese:
and translated by Gerry Yokota, collaborator.

Posted by Shin Yamaaki


Japanese Youths Crying out for Democracy and Peace: SEALDs

Cries of fury are reverberating in front of the National Diet Building in Tokyo, as protesters demonstrate against Prime Minister Abe's security bills that would allow the Japanese self-defense force to fight overseas for the first time since WWII. Leading the protest every Friday evening is a youth group called Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs), whose presence has drawn much attention from the media:

"Students protest planned security legislation in front of Diet," Asahi Shimbun.

"Youth Rising Against the Security Bills," Pressenza.

“Campaign group SEALDs hooking Japan’s youth with jazzy placards, fliers,” Japan Times

"A political turning point for Japan's youth," Japan Times.

"SEALDs student group reinvigorates Japan’s anti-war protest movement," Japan Times.

Image from SEALDs' website
Here are a few examples of how some of the young, hip protesters are expressing themselves at demonstrations. 

Beniko, a twenty-four-year-old shop clerk and a member of SEALDs, spoke to 1,000 protesters on June 12, 2015:

“Last year, I never thought I would take part in such demonstrations; nor had I ever imagined myself making a public speech like this. Along the way, I’ve had bitter experiences; some of my friends left me. Some people said I had changed, and some thought I was annoying. But I have always been like this, speaking out when I feel something is wrong. Sounding off when it doesn’t feel right. That should be a standard way of engaging in the politics. 

“Today, before I came here, I bought a bikini and I’m still contemplating when to put on my new fake lashes for summer. It should be normal that people like me, fussing over swimsuits and makeup, stand up and be counted in the politics. That should be regarded as a standard. Till the day comes, I will continue to stand up and make myself heard.” 

On July 15, 2015 in Osaka, Tomoka made a speech at the SEALDs KANSAI demonstration that touched many across the nation:

“I cannot bring back the lives that are lost in battles. I cannot rebuild the cities that are destroyed by air raids. I cannot take responsibility for the future of the children who are injured by the arms produced by Japanese companies. I cannot heal even a slightest bit of the sorrow caused by the loss of families. I cannot gloss over what I cannot account for, like Prime Minister Abe does when he uses terms such as "absolutely" and "I promise." Mr. Abe, our Constitution prohibits the use of arms and does not allow your dictatorship. If you continue to neglect the principles of the people’s sovereignty, a fundamental human right, and pacifism, you are no longer our prime minister.

“As long as our democracy exists, we have the right to drag you down from the seat of authority. We have the power. You will resign this summer, and next year, for the seventy-first time, we will celebrate another year of peace.”  

The following week in Tokyo, Mana Shibata, a college junior, echoed her voice in front of 70,000 protesters:

“Prime Minister Abe, can you possibly erase my worries? Can you provide a future free from health concerns for children in Fukushima? Can you give back base-free lands to grandmas and grandpas in Okinawa? Can you possibly turn this country into a place where people hope to bring up their children? We can no longer trust our future in you.

“As I speak, the view from here makes me full of hope. Mr. Abe, come and join me. The faces lining up here are much more determined and hopeful than those that you are used to seeing.”

Photos and videos of demonstrations are available at: https://twitter.com/SEALDs_jpn (in Japanese) and https://twitter.com/sealds_eng (in English).

Text by Aya Kitamura


Show Your Opposition to Abe’s Politics on July 18

Dozens of famous intellectuals and cultural figures in Japan, including WAN’s director Chizuno Ueko, are asking people to demonstrate opposition to the current prime minister Abe’s politics by way of holding a sign with the slogan “We Refuse Abe’s Politics.” (アベ政治を許さない)

People are encouraged to download the file from http://wan.or.jp/emergency/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/sho_f.pdf. On it, the slogan is written in powerful and impressive Japanese calligraphy by one of the movement promoters Tota Kaneko, a famous haiku poet. Print it out on a A3 size piece of paper, and hold it at 1 p.m. on July 18 Japan time.

Also see the article below.

By Naoko Hirose


Call for Support: Sign the Appeal against the Security-Related Bills

Women's Action Network invites you to join hands with the Association of Scholars Opposed to the Security-Related Bills. The initial signatories include Chizuko Ueno and Yayo Okano of WAN, and many others have since participated in the appeal. Both scholars and non-scholars are welcome.

Visit here to learn more about the Association, see the growing number of signatories, and join in!

See also a feature article ("Japanese Scholars Say No to War" by C. M. Rubin) on Huffington Post.

Posted by Aya Kitamura