Scientists speak on war and Japan’s pacifist Constitution in lecture in Hiroshima

On March 29, a lecture was given by two well-known scientists at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on the subject of war and Japan’s pacifist Constitution. Engaging in dialogue were Toshihide Maskawa, 74, a Nobel Prize laureate in Physics in 2008, and Masahisa Matsuda, 66, the president of Aichi University of Education. Dr. Maskawa, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University, said, “Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is an asset that should be treasured. We must involve younger generations and raise our voices against amending the Constitution.”

Dr. Maskawa recounted how his house in Nagoya was hit by an incendiary bomb toward the end of World War II. He said, “War puts people in extreme situations. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who doesn’t have any real experience of war, doesn’t understand how terrible it is.” He added, “The government is seeking to amend the Constitution so that it will recognize the right of belligerency. We must make genuine efforts to prevent this.”

Dr. Maskawa is also a member of a group of academics who are opposed to the Special Secrecy Law. He expressed strong concern that the central government will use the law toward its own ends. “Those in power are trying to scare the public into silence,” he said. “We must not remain indifferent.”

About 300 people attended the event, which was sponsored by Article 9 Association Hiroshima, a citizens’ group based in Minami Ward, Hiroshima.

(Originally published on March 30, 2014)