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Analysis
Last Updated: 01/26/2004
The Japanese Constitution as Peace System
ONODA Setsuko

The wars in Asia would seem to demand that certain European countries, the U.S., and Japan all re-examine the value systems that presumably provided the justification for those wars. Many situations of "instability" in this century were actually based on the preconceptions and deeds of the nations that applied that label. Now as ever, if a country has reason to be opposed to something, it will typically display a tendency to assume that other countries are engaged in strategic designs or acting from an adversarial position.


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Memories of War and Peace-building in Post-War Japan: Japanese Constitution as Peace System

ONODA Setsuko

Abstract

            The wars in Asia would seem to demand that certain European countries, the U.S., and Japan all re-examine the value systems that presumably provided the justification for those wars.  Many situations of "instability" in this century were actually based on the preconceptions and deeds of the nations that applied that label. Now as ever, if a country has reason to be opposed to something, it will typically display a tendency to assume that other countries are engaged in strategic designs or acting from an adversarial position.

            A number of countries are still enmeshed in a complex web of latent alliances, some of which have been rooted in mixed sentiments toward communist countries.  In effect, the Cold War framework has not changed.  As that reality illustrates, it is still a relatively simple matter for members of the international community, including those in Northeast Asia, to share a sense of crisis as a value.  The values derived from the collective memories of World War II, in conjunction with the memories of inequality and colonial policy, essentially failed to create a set of common values that could be shared by all countries.  Mutual ties have been fostered, albeit weakly, by a growing diversity of information, closer ties in the economic and cultural spheres, and heightened exchange at the grassroots level.  However, the countries of Northeast Asia, like all countries, need a presence on the international stage, too.  That stage must be a vehicle that is capable of helping each country maximize its future potential, not merely an elitist club that expects favors in return for membership.

 

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Dr. ONODA Setsuko is Associate Professor based in Tokyo and can be contacted at onoda6mm@sepia.ocn.ne.jp


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