On March 20, around 4,000 people gathered at Tokyo’s Hibiya Park to attend a protest against the Abe administration’s plan to reinterpret the Constitution. Despite the rain that came down that night, many were present to show opposition to the government’s plan to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense.
The group calling themselves Senso o Sasenai 1,000 nin Iinkai (“1,000 people committee to prevent war”) organized the event at the outdoor music venue. Toshihiro Yamauchi, professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University said, “Allowing the government to exercise the right of collective self-defense represents destroying the foundation of constitutionalism and pacifism, concepts well displayed in the Constitution.” Committee co-founder and Nobel Prize-winning writer Kenzaburo Oe was also present at the rally. Speaking to the attendees, he said, “Exercising the right to collective self-defense means fighting wars together with the United States.” Further adding, “We have to prevent Japan from standing at the forefront of wars along with the United States, which is engaging in warfare across the planet.”
Writer Keiko Ochiai, meanwhile, lambasted Abe by referring to his controversial “under control” statement regarding the radioactive water in Fukushima. While meeting with the International Olympic Committee during the host selection process for the 2020 Summer Olympics, Abe was quoted to have told the committee that leakage of the radioactive water from the crippled plant in Fukushima is “under control.” Ochiai countered, “I want to throw his words back at the prime minister. ‘We,’ who are determined to prevent the government from participating in a war, will control ‘you,’ who hope to engage in war.”