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Japanese prelate: don’t scrap constitutional rejection of war

Catholic World News - October 11, 2013

Japan’s leading prelate is opposing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to revise the nation’s 1947 constitution to allow for a greater military role.

Article 9 of the post-World War II constitution reads:

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

“Article 9 is a treasure of which Japan is proud,” said Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Japan. “It reflects the teaching of Jesus Christ about love. Thanks to this approach, Japan has never killed anyone during war and no Japanese citizen lost his [or] her life in a conflict. It is our fundamental responsibility to protect this article and do everything possible to preserve it.”

The nation of 127 million is 2% Catholic, according to Vatican statistics.

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