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Nagasaki A-bomb survivors rally against constitutional amendment for 'war-capable' Japan

A-bomb survivors and others voice objections against moves to amend Japan's Constitution while raising banners bearing messages such as "Stop constitutional revision! Let's protect Article 9!" in the city of Nagasaki on May 3, 2021. (Mainichi/Mayu Matsumura)

NAGASAKI -- With assemblies for and against amending Japan's Constitution held across the country on May 3 -- Constitution Memorial Day -- a group including Nagasaki atomic bombing survivors came together in this southwest Japan city to voice their objections to moves to revise the pacifist supreme law.

    About 50 A-bomb survivors, or hibakusha, attended the gathering in the heart of Nagasaki and held up signs with messages including: "No to changing the Constitution for the worse!" Participants wore masks as part of coronavirus countermeasures.

    In a statement adopted at the event, the group referred to moves to codify the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution. It read: "The move effectively means removing (Article 9's second) paragraph banning Japan from possessing any potential for war, and having the SDF's ability to wage war written into the article."

    It also denounced the Japanese government for continuing to allocate record-high defense budgets, and noted, "There have been conspicuous moves to reinforce Japan's ability to attack enemy bases, which deviates from the nation's defense-oriented policy."

    Eriko Nagashima, 69, a second-generation hibakusha who attended the rally, keenly felt the importance of peace by growing up seeing one of her parents suffer bombing-related diseases.

    "If the SDF is stipulated in Article 9, Japan could come under attack at any time. I don't want to leave our children and grandchildren a future where Japan has the potential to engage in war," she said.

    (Japanese original by Mayu Matsumura, Nagasaki Bureau)

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