It is our pleasure to report that PPSEAWA Japan had a gathering for the International Day of Peace on Sep. 27th, 2016 at the Musashino Place in Tokyo. This year the gathering was held collaborated with Musashino City as part of the activities to promote gender equality by the city. Thirty-one people attended the gathering.
After the opening remarks by Ms Machiko Yanagishita, the Vice President of PPSEAWA Japan, Ms Sonoko Nishitateno, the President, talked about the UN International Day of Peace and conducted one minute of silent prayer for a peaceful world. Then she introduced the history of PPSEAWA as well as its link to International Day of Peace, since half of the attendees were non-PPSEAWA members. She noted that nowadays, 90% of conflict casualties are innocent civilians, many of whom are women and children, while at the beginning of the 20thcentury, 90% of those killed in war were soldiers. She emphasized the necessity of working together to bring about peace in the world, the main mission of PPSEAWA.
Then Ms Chieko Serizawa, a member of PDC of PPSEAWA International, introduced the guest speaker Mr. Yoshiki Mine, a longtime diplomat and the founder of Institute for Peaceful Diplomacy. All the participants welcomed him with warm applause when he began his speech titled “Peace and Women”.
He gave us a full picture of security-related legislation of Japan and explained how the security bills have developed. His lecture deepened and enriched our knowledge of the security bills, which many constitutional scholars consider unconstitutional. He also pointed out the importance of having viewpoints from the other side, saying that so-called “noncombat areas” where the Self-Defense Forces deploy their operations are not “noncombat areas” when seen from the enemy’s side. Japan is a country with a war-renouncing constitution. Mr. Mine urged us to consider whether or not the security bills, which largely expand overseas operations by the Self-Defense Forces, will truly protect our country and contribute to world peace.
He continued his speech by introducing the “Chilcot Report”, which is an inquiry on the Iraq war released in the United Kingdom, and said Japan has not fully summarized what we did during the Iraq war. He made us realize we can learn lessons only when we face reality and reflect humbly on the past.
Following a question and answer period, we all watched the DVD in which boys and girls sang the “PPSEAWA Peace Song” in beautiful harmony. The DVD was filmed at the opening ceremony of the 26thPPSEAWA International Malaysia Conference held in August 2016. They are refugees escaped from Myanmar and living in Kuala Lumpur. Ms Miharu Ishibashi, a daughter of Chiyoko Noguchi, who is a longtime member of PPSEAWA Japan, has been working as their music teacher on a voluntary basis.
The gathering adjourned after Ms Kazuko Kano, another Vice President of PPSEAWA Japan, gave the closing address and the questionnaires on the guest speaker’s talk were collected.
The questionnaires, which were compiled immediately after the gathering, showed Mr. Mine’s speech was very well-received by the audience. His expertise and experiences as a Former Ambassador of Disarmament Representative and a Former representative of the Japanese government for Japan-DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) normalize diplomatic negotiations raised our awareness of the present situation of Japan in terms of peace and gave us a good opportunity to think how we can contribute to make the world a more peaceful place
In addition, half of the participants were non-PPSEAWA members with various backgrounds, which helped us to broaden our perspective on world peace. We were able to think about peace and security from every angle.