Japanese bishops appeal for nuclear weapons ban
As Pax Christi sections around the world commemorate the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with vigils, prayers and actions against the development of nuclear weapons, they received a massage from Bishop Michael Goro Matsuura, President of the Catholic Council for Justice and Peace, a member organization of Pax Christi International in Japan.
"We are facing a dangerous time when a culture of war and violence is steadily built up, seeping into the consciousness of people and their daily lives. It forges a "common sense" and the way to look at the reality accompanied by a deep sense of fear and hatred of 'the enemies'. We need to express our commitment for another world which is possible and bind ourselves together in solidarity to create a global network of peace, non-violence, and compassion that cries out: No more Hiroshima, No nuclear weapons! "
The context of Bishop Goro Matsuura's words is important as the Government in Japan is seeking to revise Article 9 of the Japanese constitution which states that: "Land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognised."
Bishop Matsuura spoke of his fears of the strong US government support for this revision which would allow Japan to take a proactive military role in US-led ventures. The Council for Justice and Peace in Japan believes that the constitutional nonviolence which Article 9 advocates is the answer to the war-ridden world where violence is accepted as the way to achieve peace.