Feature Story:Min-Iren Organizes its First Exchange Meeting to Defend Constitution

The movement to defend Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution has now reached a crucial moment. Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Min-Iren), with the position regarding Article 9 as a safeguard for “the security of Japan and the world,” has organized “Article 9 Association of doctors and medical specialists” and other “Article 9 Associations” in workplaces, and local communities throughout Japan to promote a variety of campaigns.

As the ruling parties are plotting to railroad a “national referendum bill” through the Diet, which is a bill to set a procedure to facilitate the revision of the Constitution, Min-Iren attaches primary importance to the task of defending the Constitution and organized “an exchange meeting for the struggles in defense of the Constitution at hospitals/clinics, service stations and workplaces” to share a wide variety of local efforts and campaigns for the sake of solidarity in our future struggles.

Feature Story:

Min-Iren Organizes its First Exchange Meeting to Defend Constitution
–Rapidly spreading grass-roots “Article 9 Associations”: Now over 1,200 associations formed out of affiliates and friendly organizations of Min-Iren

Various events with the slogan: “Stop the bill for revising the Constitution!”

“It was her father who told Chi-chan how to play ‘Kageokuri (shadow-sending)’….” The audience listened attentively to the reading by actress Etsuko Ichihara. The story called “Chi-chan no Kageokuri (Chi-chan’s shadow-sending play)” written by Kimiko Aman was about a little girl who died all alone after separated from mother and brother in an air raid, while her father was sent to the battlefront during World War II. While the story was recited, sobs were heard here and there.

On February 8, Min-Iren held its first “Exchange Meeting for the Struggles to Defend the Constitution” waged at affiliate medical hospitals/clinics and service stations. When the ruling parties are plotting to revise the Constitution and trying to force a national referendum bill through the Diet by May 3, the meeting was intended to boost a big drive for the defense of the Constitution as the priority task of Min-Iren.

In the meeting, lawyer Osamu Sakamoto (former chairman of Japan Lawyers Association for Freedom) gave a lecture. Sakamoto enthusiastically spoke in a humorous vein and warned that the aimed “national referendum bill” would be a first step of procedures aiming to revise the Constitution.

The cultural program was also held in the meeting. It included the reading by actress Etsuko Ichihara and singing and talking by singer-songwriter Tetsu Kitagawa. The audience gave a big hand to the enthusiastic performance of Kitagawa, who has been engaged in singing for peace and Constitution for 31 years since his debut. One of his best-known pieces is “The Preamble of the Japanese Constitution.”

Fumio Nagase, Secretary-General of Min-Iren, said, “The number of formed “Article 9 Association” is said to have reached 6,020 nationwide at the end of January. On the other hand, the total number of the associations formed at Min-Iren and affiliate organizations, including those based on various service stations, youth groups and local associations, alone counts 1,200. I don’t think all of them are included in 6,020 associations. The same thing can be said about other areas. The movement is really growing rapidly at grass-roots level.”

In the afternoon-session, various activities developed in local places were reported and the participants shared and exchanged their experiences. There were over 150 people attending; who reaffirmed their commitment with all-out efforts to the struggle for the defense of the peace Constitution.