By David Rothauser
Peace activists the world over march, demonstrate, sit-in, write-in, boycott and do civil
disobedience – all to bring about an end to war making and a beginning for peace as a way
of life. How many times have we “marched on Washington,” carried the names of war dead,
interred them in wooden coffins outside the White House, tried to raze the Pentagon, begged,
bled and screamed for the end to senseless killing by our military abroad? And the wars rage on.
Robert McNamara, in his expository book, In Retrospect, admitted that the Kennedy and
Johnson Administrations knew from the start that the war in Vietnam could not have been
won. Still they blundered on, driven by hubris to commit 58,000 US. troops and millions of
Vietnamese to a horrendous death.
Vietnam, followed by the first Gulf War, then Iraq and now Afghanistan – all wars of folly.
All those years all that chanting, singing, “What do we want? PEACE ! When do we want it?
NOW!” “Where have all the flowers gone – long time passing?” Reading the names of the
dead soldiers at Riverside Church in a tiny chapel – “John Daniel Forshey, Jacksonville, Florida,
20 years old – dead in Vietnam…” Flag draped coffins. The Stars and Stripes is alive and well at
the Annin Flag factory in Verona, NJ.
Article 9, A TEMPLATE FOR PEACE, was set 67 years ago, but most of the world either
doesn’t know about it, or ignores it. Article 9 is the template that can unite the world in a quest
for real peace. In September of 2012 The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
awarded me a grant to bring a version of Article 9 as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Article 9, A TEMPLATE FOR PEACE, originated at the end of World War II when Baron
Kijuro Shidehara was riding on a train. A young man on the train jumped up and started yelling
that Japan had started WWII without telling the Japanese people and had ended it without telling
them. Agreeing with the man, people surrounding him joined the criticism of the government for
betraying its people.
A peace activist to the core the Baron never forgot the anguish of the young man on the train.
Later in 1945 as Prime Minister of Japan, Shidehara approached General Douglas MacArthur,
Allied Supreme Commander in Southeast Asia to write a peace constitution for Japan. He felt
strongly the need to change Japan, so the government would never make people suffer from wars
they didn’t want in the first place. In his memoirs Shidehara mentions:
…it would be safer not to have even one soldier. This is the way Japan should go.
He also believed that the unity of the people is stronger than military force. The diplomat and
the warrior shook hands. In 1946 U.S. occupation forces re-wrote the constitution in 10 days.
Article 9 of the constitution states unequivocally that Japan will never again make war. Japan
has not made war in 67 years. Shidehara told MacArthur, “The world will laugh and mock us
as impractical visionaries, but a hundred years from now we will be called prophets.” The real
power of the peace constitution is that it is a proven document in action. Not one civilian nor
one military has been lost to war making in 67 years.
A testament to Article 9 is its ability to survive the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”
perpetrated upon it by both the U.S. and Japanese governments. The following timeline will help
to put the power of Article 9 into perspective.
Just four years after its inception, Article 9 meets its first challenge on the world stage.
1950 America becomes embroiled in another war, this time in Korea.
• “Drop Article Nine of the Constitution,” said Uncle Sam. “Create an army of 350,000,
go to war against North Korea.” Japan settles for a 75,000 home defense police.
• Prime Minister Yoshida Shigeru says, “You gave Japanese women the right to vote, they
won’t let us go to war.”
1956 National policy has embodied “three non-nuclear principles” — forbidding the nation to
possess, manufacture or to allow nuclear weapons to be introduced into its territories.
1959 U.S. and Japanese governments form a secret pact to bring nuclear weapons to Japanese
harbors – a direct violation of the 3 non-nuclear principles.
1965 Vietnam War
• Japan government provides embarkation bases and maintenance centers on the mainland
and on Okinawa.
• The Japanese rallied, marched, and agitated against American actions in Indochina in the
late 1960s, forming the biggest antiwar movement in their history. Japanese people hold
firm to Article Nine.
1990 1st Gulf War
As Japan was a major consumer of oil from the Persian Gulf, some critics urged Japanese
military participation in the Gulf War, but Japan steadfastly refused to violate their
• Japan’s support of NATO-led coalition forces in Afghanistan has been limited to
refueling their ships in the Indian Ocean since 2001.
2003 Iraq War
Japan served as a repair facility for US aircraft, ships, tanks, and artillery.
2009 President Obama calls for a nuclear weapons-free world.
• The challenge is ours to act upon. Our survival is at stake. It is not Japan alone who
needs Article Nine, it is the world.
2013 Together America and Japan, united by the power of Article 9 can form a coalition fully
supporting the United Nation’s mandate to abolish war making as a political/economic
• What then is the meaning of this schism between the Japanese people and their own
• And too, what kind of people are we, the Americans who wrote Article 9 in the first
place? Why do we refuse to grasp this world treasure born out of the sweat and blood of
our own tears? Given life from the handshake of the warrior and the diplomat?
Yet, in the face of it all, Article 9 stands proud. A powerful beacon beckoning the warrior
and the diplomat to spread the grace and beauty of this TEMPLATE FOR PEACE. No
need to re-invent the wheel.
It is then that the beauty of Article Nine may reach it’s full fruition.
2014 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe re-interprets Article 9. The first step to changing the
Constitution so Japan may become a major military power on the world stage.