The leaders of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) and Japanese Communist Party (JCP) voiced opposition to revising war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution during a Nov. 3 rally to protect the supreme law.
"We may be a minority in the Diet, but voters haven't given the legislature carte blanche to revise Article 9 of the Constitution for the worse," CDP leader Yukio Edano said at the rally held in front of the Diet Building. "Our fight in the Diet and joint struggle with citizens are the two wheels of a cart."
JCP Chairman Kazuo Shii vowed to block the Diet from proposing to amend Article 9, criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's proposal to add a paragraph stipulating the existence of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to the clause while retaining its war-renouncing paragraph 1 and paragraph 2 that bans Japan from possessing "war potential."
Shii said "paragraph 2 of Article 9 would die" if the SDF paragraph was added to the clause.
Akira Kawasaki, a member of the International Steering Group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) that won this year's Nobel Peace Prize, underscored the importance of protecting Article 9.
"Our desire to abolish nuclear weapons and Article 9's pledge never to wage war again reflect an important lesson we've learned from World War II. Nevertheless, the government is moving in the polar opposition direction," he told the rally.
Organizers said approximately 40,000 people participated in the rally.