Peace Walk leaves from Hiroshima to support Article 9

by Masayoshi Ishikawa, Staff Writer

The Article 9 Peace Walk, which seeks to express the significance of Article 9 through a nationwide march, departed from in front of the A-bomb Dome in downtown Hiroshima on February 24. Along with the leadership of the procession, who are heading to Chiba, outside Tokyo, to attend the Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War from May 4-6, about 200 citizens joined in to march through the city.

At the departing ceremony, Professor Yasuhito Asami of Hitotsubashi University Graduate School and Co-Chair of the Peace Walk Steering Committee, referred to controversial efforts to amend the Constitution, including the Constitution referendum law enacted last year (setting procedures for a national referendum to revise the Constitution). And he urged the participants to “proclaim the important role of Article 9 to people who take it for granted that we will never lose our pacifist constitution.”

The Peace Walk’s first route led from the A-bomb Dome to Hiroshima train station, a distance of about 2 kilometers. The participants paraded through the streets with smiles and peace signs, carrying banners with messages such as “Treasure Article 9” and “Let’s live in peace.” Ash Woolson, 26, an American citizen, is planning to walk the entire route of 1,200 kilometers over the next 71 days and he remarked, “I served in the Iraq War and it was a travesty. I want people to recognize that Article 9, in rejecting the use of force, is an enlightened idea.”

The Global Article 9 Conference will appeal for the principle of renouncing war through a speech by a Nobel Peace Laureate and related activities.