Our View on Amending the Constitution of Japan:
Making Pacifism a ‘Treasure for Humankind’
On December 1, 2005, Rissho Kosei-kai announced its “Basic Position Regarding Constitutional Amendments.” We would like once again to clarify here our thoughts on the Constitution of Japan. We have observed, particularly in the political arena, increased debate on constitutional amendments. The debate on the proposed changes includes opinions that threaten the existing “pacifism” of the constitution. Amending the constitution would have a huge effect on the current state of the nation as well as on future generations, so it is essential that there be a broad national discussion.
During the Second World War, fifty million precious lives were lost around the world. More than three million Japanese perished and twenty million people lost their lives in other Asian countries. Our natural and social environments were destroyed. The Constitution of Japan was enacted with a firm determination to treat this experience as a historic lesson and prevent the reoccurrence of the same mistakes, and to enshrine the fundamental principles of sovereignty of the people, respect for fundamental human rights, and pacifism.
The preamble of the present Constitution of Japan states, “We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time . . . and have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world.” It further states that we, the Japanese people, confirm the right of all peoples of the world “to live in peace, free from fear and want.” It also affirms our desire “to occupy an honored place in an international society” through the pursuit of worldwide happiness with a humanitarian outlook, namely, through the pursuit of “human interests” and “global interests.”
Although humankind consists of different races, nations, cultures, and religions, we are all brothers and sisters, all riding this one huge vehicle known as Planet Earth. There is nothing so foolish as brothers and sisters hating each other and fighting. Military weapons indicate mistrust of the other side, and to the extent that we rely on force, this mistrust will only increase. Expanding our military force and the authority to use it, under the excuse of “being prepared for anything,” will only strain relations with other countries. We Japanese must cultivate insights and behavior that ensure security for ourselves and others through peaceful rather than military means. What we need above all is to remove prejudice and mistrust, and tackle the issues of the poverty, human rights violations, and environmental destruction—the primary impediments to world peace—through positive international actions in wide-ranging governmental, economic, and cultural spheres, working together with maximum effort to build world peace.
To have a world without war, we must all become conscious of our own individual nobility and then create in each of our minds the “inner peace” that recognizes that all life is precious. It is in that sense that Rissho Kosei-kai considers the preamble of the constitution and Article 9, the very symbols of pacifism, to be “the wish of all humankind and the pride of Japan.” The true direction in which humankind must move is toward building nations whose aim is to live in harmony by coming together regardless of differences in nationality or ethnicity and to strengthen our intellectual as well as spiritual bonds, by engaging in dialogue to understand each other and by building trust.
The pacifism of the current constitution is not merely an ideal. On the contrary, it is the realistic means for banning wars, protecting the sanctity of all life, and realizing a just world. We believe that we Japanese must spread the pacifism of our constitution throughout the world, making it a “treasure for humankind.”
November 11, 2012