World BEYOND War Marches for Peace in Japan

By Joseph Essertier, World BEYOND War, February 24, 2023

Essertier is Organizer for World BEYOND War’s Japan Chapter

Almost one year has passed since the Russian invasion, and last weekend (the 18th and 19th of February) various events were held against the war in Ukraine and against Japan’s current military build-up that was announced on the 16th of December. The lives of people in East Asia, including the lives of U.S. soldiers on bases on the Island of Okinawa, in other parts of Japan, and in South Korea are at risk in this historical moment, when the war in Ukraine could spread just like a brush fire to Taiwan.

Gifu City March

For the first time, I took a banner of Japan for a World BEYOND War to an antiwar march in Gifu City that was held in the morning on the 19th. The organizers warmly welcomed us and put many photos in their report about the march on their website. Their main demand was “(Kishida), do not make this decision all on your own to put us on the path to war.” I joined them in making this demand because the Kishida administration made the decision to commit Japan to a military build-up without discussion and debate in Japan’s National Diet, which is unconstitutional and obviously undemocratic. Even if a majority of Japan’s citizens approve of a military build-up, their elected representatives in government must be part of the decision-making process. Japan has the war-renouncing Article 9 and that cannot be violated without a revision of the Constitution. Also, the prime minister is not elected directly by the citizens, and the National Diet is at the core of Japan’s democracy.

It was cold that day and it rained lightly almost the whole time, but the atmosphere among the protesters was positive, active, and cooperative. Unlike in Nagoya, many or most people on the streets stopped and watched us as we went by, almost as if we were walking in a parade. I hope to join more Gifu City events in the future.

Nagoya City March

In the afternoon of the same day (on the 19th), Koichi Nakano gave a lecture in which he opposed the current military build-up. He talked about how unrealistic it would be for Japan to be involved in a war with China and how making friends with a giant is not always smart. If Japan joins in a U.S. war with China, it will be a proxy war and one goal of the war will be to mess up China’s economy.

He argued that Japan’s current build-up is partly based on the idea of deterrence, and experience has shown that the notion of deterrence sounds good in theory but does not work in practice. One interesting reason that he gave was that the heads of state of Japan, the U.S., and Russia are all safe. If they themselves are safe, they do not have much incentive to promote peace. “Deter” comes from “de” (away) and “ter” (fear—the same root as in “terror”), he explained. This idea that one can prevent war by putting fear into the hearts of one’s enemies is false.

Taiwan is not independent, but is under the U.S., in a sense colonized by the U.S., and so a push by Taiwan for “independence” (under the U.S.) would spark war. (I would say “re-spark the Civil War of China, which was temporarily put on pause after China’s Communist Party defeated the Nationalist Party or Guomindang in all regions of China except Taiwan).

What I write here is not meant as a summary of his speech, which covered a lot of ground, but is just a sampling of a few interesting ideas and points that I found interesting.

The organizers of this lecture and march in Nagoya (Aichi branch of “Sougakari Koudou” 愛知総がかり行動) had a poster at the front of the room with five demands:

  1. Opposed to enemy base attack capability
  2. Enemy base attack capability is illegal
  3. Opposed to military build-up
  4. Don’t buy U.S. Tomahawks
  5. Opposed to the deployment of weapons in “Southwest Islands” (Luchu/Ryukyu)

日本で平和行進               2023年2月24日







19日の午前中に行われた岐阜市の反戦デモ行進に、初めてJapan for a World BEYOND Warのバナーを持って行った。主催者は私たちを温かく迎えてくれ、ウェブサイトに掲載されたデモ行進の報告書にたくさんの写真を載せてくれた。彼らのスローガンは、「勝手に決めるな、戦争への道~改憲・大軍拡・大増税反対・岸田内閣退陣~」だ。岸田内閣が国会での議論もなく、軍備増強に踏み切ったからである。たとえ国民の過半数が軍備増強に賛成であったとしても、国民に選ばれた国会議員が意思決定プロセスに参加しなければならない。 日本には戦争を放棄する憲法第9条があり、敵基地攻撃能力は憲法を改正しない限り違憲である。また、首相は国民から直接選ばれるわけではなく、国会が日本の民主主義の中核をなすものである。





同日(19日)午後、中野晃一氏が講演を行い、その中で現在の軍備増強に反対の意を述べた。 日本が中国との戦争に巻き込まれるのは非現実的であり、大国と協調することが必ずしも賢いとは言えないと話した。もし日本がアメリカの中国との戦争に参加すれば、それは代理戦争となり、戦争の目的のひとつは中国の経済を混乱させることとなる。
















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