Global Article 9 Conference to share the spirit of non-violence

by Masakazu Domen, Staff Writer

The outline of the Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War was announced by its Co-Initiators at a press conference held in Tokyo on February 22. The conference will be held at the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex in Chiba from May 4-6, 2008, with the aim of sharing the spirit of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which renounces war, to a global audience. In conjunction with this conference, a peace march, the Article 9 Peace Walk, left Hiroshima on February 24 and is headed for the conference venue, its participants appealing for “peace without force.”

Several Co-Initiators of the conference, including Kayoko Ikeda, a manga artist and translator, and Mitsuo Okamoto, Professor Emeritus of Hiroshima Shudo University, attended the press conference.

On May 4, the first day of the conference, Mairead Corrigan-Maguire, a Nobel Peace Laureate who contributed toward resolving the conflict in Northern Ireland through dialogue, will address the gathering. Other speeches will be made as well, along with a discussion among the participants and a concert of live music.

On May 5, symposiums will be held on such themes as “Providing Non-Violent Alternatives to Contemporary Conflicts,” “Realizing the Spirit of Article 9 in Asia,” and “The Nuclear Age and Article 9.” On the final day, May 6, the “Global Article 9 Declaration” (tentative name) will be adopted. The conference organizers hope to attract a total of 10,000 people from Japan and abroad.

The Article 9 Peace Walk is scheduled to arrive at the conference venue on May 4. While the conference is being held in Chiba, a variety of satellite events will take place in other locations, including the “Global Article 9 Conference in Hiroshima,” scheduled for May 5 at Aster Plaza in downtown Hiroshima.

The homepage for the Global Article 9 Conference to Abolish War is www.whynot9.jp.