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Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Farewell to 2006 with a Poem for Teachers

Back in June 2003, I wrote a poem for Ms. Palamarek, teacher of my then five-year old son, as suggested by a class parent for sharing at the year-end party for parents and teachers.

This poem just came up in my mind in ten minutes or so, and I wasn'tsure about sharing it. I emailed it to Helen Lim, my best friend who was a lawyer in China. Helen was my roommate in the high school dormitory who had great talents in all sorts of arts - music, literature,and poetry. She checked my English and suggested some improvements, just as she used to do twenty years before, and assured me that this poem was worth sharing with others.

As I read the poem at the party, I saw tears not only in the eyes of Ms.Palamarek but also in those of other parents'. It was the first time in my life that I saw my words move people in the way it did that evening. Although I was somewhat embarrassed, I was happy that I took courage to read the poem.

Since then I have shared this poem with a couple of friends (who were teachers) that were special to me. Tonight, on the last day of the year in which Japan said a farewell to the 1947 Fundamental Law of Education which upheld education free from state control and freedom of individual minds, I would like to dedicate this poem to all teachers of Japan, and all teachers of the world.



I thought hard for words
To express my appreciation to a teacher
Then I thought about the word 'word' itself
And what it carries and means in my mother tongue

Kotoba means “word” in Japanese
Koto is 'to say' and ba is 'leaves'
I wondered why and how 'leaves' are part of this magical word
The word that means 'word'

This is what I thought:
Words of a teacher are like leaves
Leaves nurture the tree while on the tree
And even after they fall off
Leaves nourish the soil so that the tree will grow taller and stronger
The power of the leaves stay within the tree,
Sprouting in endless cycle
Forever and ever

Words of a teacher are like leaves
Words of a teacher nurture children when they are under her care
And even after the children leave her classroom
Her words nourish the souls of these children
So that their souls grow richer, and stay within
Budding into new talents and actions
Forever and ever

So this is my kotoba to you
Thank you for your nourishing kotoba to my child
Kotoba of encouragement
Kotoba of knowledge
Kotoba of discipline
Kotoba of love
And other kotoba which fall from your lips into the spirit of my child

Your kotoba will stay within the soul of my child

In endless cycle
Forever and ever


Nothing can come between the honest and sincere exchange of kotoba between teachers and children, and nothing can hinder the nourishment of free souls by genuine and loving guidance of teachers. When teachers are free, children are free. When children are free, the world is free.

With love and hope for the year that will start tomorrow,


Thursday, December 28, 2006

World Peace Forum Revisited (3) The Article 9 Conference, Peace Boat, and Closing

On June 26th afternoon, the workshop 'Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution: Common Treasure of the Humankind for Peace' was held at UBC or the University of British Columbia (photo by Peace Boat), sponsored by Peace Boat, Hague Appeal for Peace, VSA9, Gensuikyo , Gensuikin and Hidankyo. I shared the panel with the 6 other speakers who gave different perspectives on how the Peace Clause of the Japanese Constitution should be upheld and utilized throughout the world for the survival of the human kind and this earth. There were more than 200 people in the audience, and I was honoured to present VSA9, its people and activities at such a significant international conference. The detailed report of the event by the moderator Akira Kawasaki of Peace Boat can be found on the website of the Global Article 9 Campaign.

On June 27th evening, VSA9 hosted a party with World Peace Forum delegates from Japan at Floata Seafood Restaurant in the Chinatown in Vancouver Downtown. Our reserved space was packed with 180+ people including guests from the local peace communities and other international delegates of the Forum. One of the highlights of this event was the presentation of Kinuko Laskey's bust by Keith Shields (photo by JALISA) to the Japanese delegates, with the prospect that Kinuko's bust will find a permanent home in Hiroshima. Kinuko was a Hiroshima A-Bomb survivor who married Canadian David Laskey, and dedicated the last 20+ years of her life educating people throughout North America about the horrors of nuclear bombs. She passed away in 2004, and David Laskey (far right in the photo), who always supported Kinuko's peace activities, has succeeded her cause.

On the last day of the Peace Forum, Peace Boat came to Vancouver with its one thousand passengers and hosted a series of events for the Forum. I participated in the noontime program 'Travelling the World, Changing the World - People to People Diplomacy onboard Peace Boat' with speakers including Peace Boat's founder Tatsuya Yoshioka and Hague Appeal for Peace's Cora Weiss. What stood out for me in those speeches were Yoshioka's comment about ships as effective vehicle for connecting people and Weiss's stress on education and the role of women for creating world peace.

The World Peace Forum concluded with Vancouver Appeal for Peace, which included a recommendation for constitutional renunciation of war with Japan's Article 9 as an example. In the photo is the performance by the young passengers of Peace Boat at the Forum's Closing Ceremony in front of Vancouver Art Gallery, which was followed by an evening peace walk from the Gallery to Canada Place where the very last event of the Forum was held - 'Bon Voyage' to Peace Boat.

Here is a picture from the VSA9 picnic that celebrated the World Peace Forum success, at the Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver. This is a perfect picture of peace - people of all ages being safe and happy, smiling, enjoying food and beautiful environment.

We must create a world where this is a reality for all people.

My heartfelt thanks to all that shared the incredible experiences of the Peace Forum.

With lots of love and the best wishes for the new year,


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

World Peace Forum Revisited (2) The Face of Jizo Reading

On Sunday June 25th evening, VSA9 produced a public reading of The Face of Jizo, or Chichi to Kuraseba, written by Hisashi Inoue and translated by Roger Pulvers. The event was sponsored by World Peace Forum, Komatsu-za (Inoue's theatre group), and Hidankyo or Japan Confederation of A- and H- Bomb Sufferers Organizations. The performance was presented as part of the World Peace Forum Arts and Culture Programs at Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown, Vancouver.

The play is about a young woman who is overwhelmed by her guilt of having survived the Hiroshima A-Bomb in 1945, and her dead father who appears in front of her three years later to be a supporter of her new romance. Tama Copithorne, one of the founding members of VSA9 brought the script to me earlier this year and I decided to produce a reading in Vancouver as part of the World Peace Forum. I was fortunate to have Manami Hara and Hiro Kanagawa (see photo above by Makoto Nishimura), Vancouver's own actors read the daughter's and the father's parts, respectively. Toyoshi Yoshihara, a play-script translator who has made great contributions to the theatrical exchange between Canada and Japan, and also one of the founding members of VSA9, was an advisor for this reading.

Four delegates from Hidankyo, the organization of hibakusha, or A-bomb survivors, brought 40 panels of The A-Bomb and Humanity donated by Ishikawa Co-op, and VSA9 volunteers displayed the panels outside of the Roundhouse Theatre for the visitors to see before and after the play reading (see the picture above taken by JALISA, or Japanese Lawyers International Solidarity Association, whose delegates were at the event.) These panels were created to tell the world about the the horrors of nuclear weapons and the reality of the people's long suffering after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A-bombs.

At the end of the reading, Mr. Nobuo Miyake, one of the four hibakusha (A-bomb sufferer) delegates from Hidankyo, told the audience of over one hundred people about his experience of Hiroshima A-Bomb (photo by Makoto Nishimura). His testimony and the presence of the three other hibakusha delegates (Mr. Mikiso Iwasa, Ms. Reiko Ono, and Mr. Shigeru Terasawa) in the audience gave a special meaning and depth to the event. Although I had visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki before, I had never met hibakusha people before the Peace Forum, so it was a real honour for me to be able to meet them and hear their experience firsthand.

Mitsue, the daughter in the Face of Jizo, could not rescue Takezo, her father who was trapped in the debris of their collapsed house and had to run from the fire, leaving Takezo behind. The next day she came back to the burnt site to pick up her father's bones. Thousands of people had that very experience at Hiroshima and Nagasaki 61 years ago, including one of the hibakusha delegates, Mr. Iwasa who had to leave his mother.

I could not even start to imagine what it would be like if I were in that situation. I become totally speechless just by thinking about it. At one point during the preparation of this event, I was overwhelmed and wondered if I should be doing this at all. One night I was meditating and felt like I was touched by the souls of those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By the next morning I had no more fear. I could accept that I knew nothing but I could still tell people about Hiroshima/Nagasaki in my best capacity. I felt as if all the spirits of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were there with us at the reading.

Here are some of the comments from the audience -
  • 'Excellent reading, informative and heart-warming. The message of her guilt was clear and understandable. I learned a lot about the events and effects of such a horrible act.'
  • 'It's been a very educational play and I think it helps a lot to create awareness on the subject.'
  • 'I was deeply moved that an event like this took place so far away from Japan.'
    'Well done. Very emotional and provocative.'
With deep appreciation for all who have taught and helped me through this project,


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

World Peace Forum Revisited (1) Peace Walk, VSA9, and Asia Conference

The World Peace Forum held here in Vancouver from June 23 to 28 thisyear (2006) a place for learningand sharing for those 8,000 participants from Vancouver and around theworld who are determined to help this world become a more peace andsustainable place. The first photo (right) is the Opening Ceremony at the Orpheum Theatre on June 23rd. I had the privilege of organizing and participating in many events of the Forum as a member of VSA9, or Vancouver Save Article 9, an organization that started in May 2005 for preserving and promoting the Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which renounces war and prohibits maintenance of armed forces.

The big Peace Walk was held on the following day, Saturday June 24th with more than 10,000 people in Downtown Vancouver. The March started at Waterfront and Seaforth Peace Park at the south end of Burrard Bridge where I joined the crowd, and gathered at Sunset Beach at the end. The whole Forum period was blessed with sunny weather (it does not happen so frequently in Vancouver) and the day of the Walk was at its peak, with 30+ C degrees with no crowds. VSA9 set up a table to collect signatures for the petition campaign to ask the Japanese government to keep the Article 9 whose mission for the survival of this world is gaining more and more international recognition.

The Asia Regional Conference was held at UBC or University of British Columbia on Sunday June 25th. I attended one of the workshops 'Reconciliation in Northeast Asia' facilitated by three scholars, Akifumi Fujita, Katsuhiko Nakano and Kyoko Okuno from Transcend Japan, the Japanese chapter of Transcend, 'a peace and development network for conflict transformation by peaceful means,' founded by Johan Galtung. A Galtung's scenario called 'Ho'oponopono - Pax Pacifica' was presented by the facilitators, with participation by volunteers from the audience. This workshop turned out to be particularly meaningful to me in two ways. One was that this was where the new project BAYT or Bringing Asian Youth Together was born, and the other was that this was the first time I came across the notion of Ho'oponopono, a traditional Hawaiian approach of problem solving, which really interested me and led me to attend a workshop in Maui (though in the end the workshop was different from the traditional Ho'oponopono approach.)

To be continued to the next posting...


Saturday, December 16, 2006

(Japanese) Some Thoughts on the new Fundamental Law of Education

These are my thoughts on the new Fundamental Law of Education of Japan.












7)現行法第五条(男女共学)が削除され、男女平等については新法第二条第三項で触れられています。この男女平等の規定に続く「公共の精神に基づき、主体的に社会の形成に参画し」という表現は、社会は男女半々で形成されているという事実に基づき、社会のすべての場面において男女が人口比率を反映する形で参画するための教育を目指すのだということを言っていると理解します。 また、このことは教育の目標のひとつとして将来の改正で明記されることを期待します。






Thursday, December 14, 2006

(English) My Letter to Citizen's Representatives Regarding the Fundamental Law of Education

(This is the translation of the letter that I sent to many of the memebers of the Special Committee on the Fundamenal Law of Education in the House of Councillors.)

Dear Councillor,

I am a Japanese citizen living in Vancouver, Canada. I work in the field of adult education and I am a mother of two children who have adual citizenship of Canadian and Japanese.

First of all I would like to express my appreciation for the work that you are doing for the citizens of Japan.

I believe the bill for the new Fundamental Law of Education has many positive aspects such as the inclusion and stress on the life-long education, home-based education, and early childhood education. I would like to pay my sincere respect with the belief that this bill was developed with earnest consideration of the future of the Japanese education.

I have two requests of you as a voter for the Japanese government, as amother of children who have been educated in the international society,and as an educator working in a multicultural community.

My first request is about the procedure. I would like all the Membersof Parliaments to take more time in discussing such an important issueso that the final decision would truly represents people's opinions. The discussion should be done for the welfare of children, not for thepurpose of passing the new law within the current Diet session. Please reflect on the experience of the 'Town Meetings' that did not function well, and take alternative measures to elicit people's opinions in ways that can restore people's trust in the government. Alternatively, please have all the voters make a decision through the upcoming election forthe House of Councillors next year.

My second request is about the content of the proposed new law. I would like the new law to pay more attention to diversity. It is not only those who have Japanese citizenship that receive education in Japan. Even those with Japanese citizenship have diverse cultural backgrounds and value systems. If we go back to Japan my children will receive education in Japan, as students who have Japanese as parents and Canadaas their native land. I would like to see all children in Japan given equal opportunities for education regardless of their nationality or cultural background. I would like you to add 'nationality' and'cultural background' to the grounds that cannot be used for discriminationin the Article 4 (Equal Opportunities of Education) of the proposed new law.

The proposed new law also have many notions that individuals can interpret differently, such as 'tradition(dento),' 'culture(bunka),''my-country (waga-kuni),' 'native land(kyodo),' 'love(ai),' 'moral mind(dotoku-shin),' and 'general education (kyoyo) related to religions.' I believe these are all important aspects of education, but these notions must be combined with the guarantee of respect for diversity. All cultures need to be respected - traditions of Niigata Prefecture, culture of Naha City, cultures of big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, cultures of cities like Moscow and Vancouver, and original cultures andtraditions of those who were born outside of Japan. One person can have multiple 'my-countries' and 'native lands.' One can love and respect not just one's country but also one's city or town, a bigger region likeAsia, the earth, and the world. Only when a specific statement is made in the Preamble and the Article 2 (Purpose of Education) to guarantee such diversity of values, I will be able to support the new FundamentalLaw of Education.

I am sure that people have diverse opinions of what education should beitself, and it must be an extremely challenging task to agree on an educational philosophy of a nation. I would like to thank you and all the Members of Parliament again for working hard for us citizens.

December 5, 2006

Satoko Norimatsu

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My Visit to Yasukuni Shrine and the Film 'Annoyng Sayonara'

Now it is the holiday time and things are quieter, I would like to look back on some of my activities this year that I have not had a chance to write about yet.

One was my visit to Yasukuni Shrine on August 15th, on the morning when then Prime Minister Koizumi paid a visit to the controversial shrine on the 61st anniversary of Japan's defeat in the WWII. Mr. Koizumi had pledged to visit the shrine on August 15th and finally went ahead with the plan at the end of his 5-year service as Prime Minister. I took this first picture in the huge crowd of people who gathered to witness Mr. Koizumi's visit. Unlike myself who was not necessarily there to support the visit, most of the people around me were cheering and applauding when Mr. Koizumi appeared in front of the main shrine. The people who gathered there seemed to be mostly men in their 20s to 50s. There were very few women. I was then naively expecting that there would be some protesting there, but I saw or heard none. The scene was all one of approval and praise.

The purpose of my visit that morning was not as much to see Mr. Koizumi at the shrine as to feel the whole atmosphere and witness what would actually be going on on the shrine premises at the time of the visit. There were security helicopters, hundreds of police officers and riot police members, media trucks and journalists. Those were all expected, but what I found shocking was the presence of so many right-winger trucks and people who were waving banners with ultranationalistic and hate-filled propaganda, like the one that called the 'comfort women' issue as fabricated. The banner on the picture on the right says 'Japanese, gather under the hinomaru (the Japanese national flag) for solidarity in the name of the Emperor!'

What I also noticed were the signs put up by the shrine at several locations throughout the premises. According to this sign, the shrine bans the distribution of flyers, demonstrative and organizational activities with flags and banners. There were clearly double standards - only the political activities and banners that were acceptable to the Shrine were allowed. I later learnt that Yasukuni would not allow any protestor activities on or outside the shrine, and they would use force to drive them out if any approached. During Mr. Koizumi's visit, the protestors were all elsewhere, in places like Ginza, demonstrating against the Prime Minister's visit to the shrine that was harshly criticized by China and Korea as the shrine glorified the war of invasion by Japan and regarded the war-dead, including war criminals, as eirei, or heroic souls.

The day before this visit, I went to see the film 'Annyong Sayonara,' co-directed by young Korean and Japanese filmmakers Kim Tae-iI and Kumiko Kato. Yasukuni Shrine was the central issue of the film, and there was a scene where a female protestor was hit by a man who seemed to be a security guard at the shrine. It was the first time in a long time that I actually saw a man hitting a woman even on a screen, so I was quite scared. This is why for my own safety, I remained silent and observant the whole time I was at the shrine the next morning.

The film Annyong Sayonara taught me many aspects of the Yasukuni issue that I didn't know before, and also gave me hope that young generations of Koreans and Japanese citizens are working together to learn from the past and co-create the future with open and honest mind. Annyong (hello) to the bright future, and Sayonara (goodbye) to the tragic past - this is the message of the film. Kumiko Kato, the Japanese director of the film who gave a talk at the Tama screening said that the biggest challenge in the production was intercultural communication between her and Kim Tae-il, the Korean director. I appreciated her candor that there were many obstables to overcome in the joint project, and I am just so proud of the cross-cultural team effort that resulted in such a thought-provoking and inspiring film. I am going to bring this film to Vancouver early next year for public screening. For your information, the link to the film website is:

With love and wishes for your holidays,

Satoko Norimatsu

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

(Japanese) My Letter to Citizen's Representatives Regarding the Fundamental Law of Education

(現在審議中の教育基本法案について、参議院教育基本法特別委員会の議員の方たちにファクス・メールで送っている手紙です。) This is a letter that I have sent to the House of Councillors' Special Committee on the Foudamental Law of Education.










Experience of Maui

I was in Maui from November 16 to 20th, 2006 to attend a workshop called 'Self-Identity Ho'oponopono,' founded by MORRNAH NĀLAMAKŪ SIMEONA (1913 - 1992) and taught by Dr. IHALEAKALĀ HEW LEN. I wanted to find some answers for my quest for peace within myself, my family and the world.

No words can adequately express what I have experienced and learnt there, so I just give the link to the website and let these photos speak for the beauty of Maui - the Arts and Culture Center where the workshop was held, the beautiful flowers of Maui that comforted me during the three-hour drive on the narrow and winding road to Hana.

I was guided by Divinity to visit the little pristine town on the less visited side of Maui on the last
and the only day off that I had at the end of my trip. Right after I passed Hana, I stopped by at a breathtakingly beautiful yet solemn beach with my son's name - Koki Beach. Naturally I was Mother, and this beach was Child. I sat there, read, meditated, and slept. It was one of the most relaxing and spiritual times of my life.

'The most important job of Mother is to let go.'



Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Miracle in Fushun" Workshop by Tatsuo Kage

I attended the workshop "From Devils to Humans - Miracle in Fushun(撫順の奇跡)," given by historian Tatsuo Kage, held on November 23rd at Nikkei Heritage Centre in Burnaby, BC. Mr. Kage showed us a documentary video in which former soldiers and Kenpei (military police) officers gave testimony about the atrocious war crimes that they committed in China during the 15-year war (1931-1945) of invasion by Japan, and how one thousand of the Japanese prisoners were treated humanely and became repentant at the Fushun War Criminal Camp, and became peace activists upon repatriation. After the video Mr. Kage gave us a lecture on the "three miracles" that the Fushun experience brought about - "One, why Japanese prisoners were generously treated; two, how they became repentant; and three, how the heritage of their unusual experience is carried on by younger people in Japan" (from the lecture synopsis prepared by Mr. Kage) . During the question and answer period, many of the over 30 participants who filled the meeting room at Nikkei Centre actively participated, including the several Chinese students and professionals whom we were very fortunate to have that evening (in the photo, Mr. Kage answers questions from Arc Z. Han and Vancent Zhu).

I had read about the Fushun war criminals before in the book (『なぜ加害を語るのか』), or "Why We Talk About Our Crimes"' by Shin-ichiro Kumagai (Iwanami Booklet No. 659), but I knew I had known nothing when I saw the scene in the video where a former Kenpei officer Mr. Tsuchiya visited the daughter of the Chinese man whom he tortured and killed in 1936. The visit took place in 1990 when the daughter, Ms. Zhang, was now a professor at a medical university. The former officer was bowing his head on the floor, crying and apologizing to Ms. Zhang. She was wiping tears off her eyes, and at the end she took Tsuchiya's hands.

Crime, repentance, forgiveness, courage, and perhaps love and hope.... I cannot possibly begin to describe in words the emotions that filled the space that the former aggressor and its victim shared. I should not easily interpret the scene as one of forgiveness. The hand-shake with a man who killed her father must have been one of the most courageous and difficult things that she did in her life, and what drove that act of benevolence and what it really meant to her, to Tsuchiya, and people of China, Japan, and the world from the time of the war to now, is in God's realm. It is a miracle. It sends a message to the human kind that it should never forget - devils can become humans, and humans can become devils. The story of Miracle in Fushun has to be learned over and over again, for creating peace in today's and tomorrow's world.

Shuichi Kato, a prominent public intellectual and an outspoken critic of the growing conservatism in Japan, said in a radio interview with NHK in August 2005, "Young generations of today's Japan are not responsible for the war crimes of their ancestors, but they have a responsibility for learning the history and examine whether the elements of the society that caused the past crimes are still found in today's society or not." Kato points out four such elements that still exist in today's Japan in his book "War Responsibility of the Post-war Generations" (Iwanami Booklet No. 67) - manipulation by government through mass media, conformism, national isolationism (leading to ethnocentrism), and discrimination of all sorts. If these societal characteristics are still there, we may commit the same crimes again, so we must always maintain our critical thinking capabilities, and work to eliminate these elements of society.

What Kato recommends is not easy, but it can be done. I will use the lesson from Fushun in my everyday life, from moment to moment, starting now.

With my heartfelt thanks to Mr. Kage for this incredible learning opportunity.


Monday, November 27, 2006

BAYT 1st Event

Congratulations! The first event of BAYT - Bringing Asian Youth Together was successfully held at UBC Point Grey Campus from 12:30 to 2:00 PM on November 24, 2006. The event started with the introduction of the original planning members (in the first photo - from right, Hyoshin, Zo, Vincent, Chinatsu, Wakiko, Arc, and Satoko). Absent that day was Ken, who created the BAYT logo.

Then we did a PowerPoint presentation on BAYT, from how it started, what we are going to do, general rules to our mission statement. In summary, the idea of bringing Asian youths together for friendship and understanding started during a workshop on reconciliation in Northeast Asia at the Asia Regional Conference of the World Peace Forum, held on June 25th, 2006. Some participants of the workshop identified an opportunity for such a project in Vancouver where there are so many students from the region. The original planning members are students and staff members of UBC and Langara College from China, Korea, and Japan, and eventually we want to expand to the larger communities. The purpose of this first event was really to introduce the idea of BAYT, involve more people and get more ideas than what we already have - film screening, guest speakers, social events, etc. At the end we divided the participants into three small groups to get more ideas about what we can do. Stay tuned for upcoming events!

The mission statement BAYT, still work in progress and open for suggestions is:

'The central idea of BAYT is to promote open and impartial dialogue among Asian youths, such as those from China, Korea and Japan. By exchanging opinions, leaning from each other and obtaining deeper knowledge, we will together broaden perspectives of the issues affecting East Asia and deepen understandings at grass-roots level. We believe this will bring harmony to the East Asia.'

We were so fortunate to have more than 20 people in attendance, some of whom volunteered to get involved as a planning member. Our upcoming events will be a year-end social activity, and some film-screening opportunities in the early 2007, such as 'Japan's Peace Constitution' directed by John Junkerman, and 'Annyong Sayonara' directed by Kim Tae-iI and Kumiko Kato. If you would like more information about BAYT, please email

This project is going to grow and we will together bring harmonious future to Asia and to the world!

Satoko :)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A Song About the World Putting an End to War

Here is a song that Chihiro Otsuka shared with me, one that her daughter sang at the peace choir of her school. I was deeply moved by these lyrics and thought that it was the world adopting 'and practicing' the Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution. I visualize this song in my meditation. Is it something that one can only imagine? If everybody imagines it, it becomes reality. Thank you Chihiro for sharing this beautiful song! Love to the world, Satoko

Here is the song.

Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream (Words and music by EdMcCurdy)

Last night I had the strangest dream
I'd ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war

I dreamed I saw a mighty room
Filled with women and men
And the paper they were signing said
They'd never fight again

And when the paper was all signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful pray'rs were prayed

And the people in the streets below
Were dancing 'round and 'round
While swords and guns and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground

Last night I had the strangest dream
I'd never dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

(Japanese) Feedback to 'Tomorrow's World'

(This is the summary of the participants' feedback to the November 12 event, in Japanese.)

11月12日に開催されました「親子で創る明日の世界」に寄せられた感想からここにご紹介します。皆さんたくさん書いていただき、全て掲載したかったのですが、お忙しい皆さんに読んでいただけるくらいの量にまずまとめるのが大事と思い、「ダイジェスト版」を作りました。ここに載っていないことでたくさんの素晴らしいご意見やご提案がありましたのでそれはまた別の方法で皆さんと share したいと思います。ありがとうございました!

  • できるところから、小さいことから始めるという物事の基本に沿って進めていけばそれが大きな力になりますから自身も少しづつですが、学びながら地球保護の為に初めていきますよ。
  • 小さい子供たちにはよく理解できる内容であったと思います。教育という観点から見ても素晴らしいイベントでした。
  • 法子さんのクリエイティブさ、子供達の心をつかむ生き生きとした表現には脱帽です。
  • 幸せで当たり前な状況から、平和でない世界はどういう世界なのかを想像させる展開は、平和とは何かを認識する、または、させるためにとても有効な方法だと改めて感心させられました。
  • まきえさんの手作りのアーモンドクッキーとさつまいもの茶巾は、甘さが控えめで、
  • さゆりさんの環境に関するお話が、瞑想から入るというアイデアはとても斬新で、Breakの後に、気持ちを切り替える、トピックに気持ちを集中させる上で、とても効果的だったと思います。地球は泣いている、言葉を話せない動物に代わってのさゆりさんの語りは、ほんとうに引き込まれました。
  • まず、私ができることは、ハンカチを持参して、ペーパータオルを使わない。ショッピングバックを持参する。使わない電気は消す。(特にパソコン)トイレットペーパーはミシン目3つまで。お箸、又はフォークを学校に持参する。以上の5つは必ず実行します。
  • トップダウン式のお勉強ワークショップではなく、「優しい」「楽しい」「うれしい」=平和、に対峙するところの「乱暴な」「怖い」「悲しい」=戦争を擬似体験する旅にいかせてもらったような気がしてます。平和への第一歩として、子供も大人も一人一人が「私にとっての平和」を心に描くことから、まずは始めてみればいいんだなと気づかせてくれたワークショップでした。パート2では、家庭でできるCO2削減ということで、自分への課題を出したので、ちゃんとやらないとなーと思ってます。娘は結構チェックが厳しいのでがんばります。
  • イベント後、帰宅してから子供が部屋の電気を消して歩いてくれたことも大きな収穫でした。やはり意識があるのとないのとでは差が出ますね。
  • 愛する人が幸せな時を絵に描くと言うのは子供たちに相手を思いやるという心を育てるのに良いアイディアだと思いました。
  • さゆりさんは環境をテーマにされて、最初の子供と一緒にしたメディテーションは今後もいろんな所でされるべき(学校など)と思います。子供こそメディテーションが必要であり、心の安定などに大切な要素だと思います。
  • 日本に住んでいるときは、正直毎日出しているごみの分別「めんどくさい」。冷暖房は快適に過ごすために常につけておくのは当たり前!暗いのが嫌なので電気もつけっぱなし。食べ切れなかったご飯は「ごめんなさい」といってゴミ箱へ…本当に恥ずかしいことばかりしていました。
  • イベントの帰りの車の中で5歳の娘との会話
  • 特に印象に残ったのが、スイッチを一瞬消してそれを原爆の炸裂と結びつけたこと、ぽっぽきのストーリーへの導入のしかた、また、世界中の動物達がゲストとなり、彼らの窮状を訴えたこと、など、素晴らしいアイデアだったと思います。
  • まきえさんの健康スナックは甘さ控えめでとても美味しかったです。


'Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. '

- Mahatma Ghandhi, Indian ascetic & nationalist leader (1869 - 1948)





Thursday, November 16, 2006

'Families Creating Tomorrow's World' Part 3

For our event, Makie Blaine prepared all-natural hand-made healthy snacks - 'almond cookies' with ingredients like almond butter, maple syrup, spelt flour and coconut milk, and 'sweet potatoes and apples, 'chakin' way,' because it looks like chakin-sushi, or wrapped sushi, as you can see in this photo with Makie. Thank you Makie!

Another highlight of the event was peace songs shared by Chihiro and her daughter, with the sign language. Chihiro's daughter belongs to the peace choir at her school. Here are the lyrics of the song:

Peace is the world smiling
Peace is a gentle dove
Peace is caring
Peace is sharing
Peace is filling the world with love

Thank you for sharing this beautiful song.

Here is the photo with the three Peace Philosophers of today - from left, Sayuri, Makie and her son, and Noriko. Thank you so much, this event happened because of your leadership and passion.

My sincere thanks to the three students - Kayo, Shikiko, and Riho who helped out with the event, and Yumiko Kikuno, who took photos, stayed later to clean up and keep me company after the event. Above all, thanks to all for participating and helping. I hope and I am sure that you are all enjoying the difference that this event has made in your life and the difference that you are bringing to this world.

Lots of love,


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

'Familes Creating Tomorrow's World' Part 2

The second session was facilitated by Sayuri, with focus on environment. Adults and older children participated while little ones played at the basement. Sayuri played beautiful meditational music and invited us to close our eyes and get connected with the Mother Earth. Sayuri's voice was mesmerizing and the sense of connection among all of us through meditation was just incredible.

Sayuri read the Japanese translation of 'Children of the Earth - A Letter from Home' by Schim Schimmel. The book helped us realize how much the earth and its species loved us humans and needed our help, and that we are really one big family reliant on each other.

What many participants found particularly fun and effective was the way Sayuri brought soft toys of many endangered animals and became spokesperson for each of them - like Beluga whales in the Arctic Ocean, lions in the African deserts, and bears in the deteriorating forests. She brought photos of glaciers, one of 30 years ago and now to show us how much of it had melted, one of a disappearing island, and another of deserts that are quickly replacing forests.

After seeing the realities of the world, Sayuri had us discuss what we could each do to stop the further damage to the earth and its species, after she shared a list of things that each household can do to reduce CO2 emission by a Japanese non-profit organization, and invited me to speak about the 10 things that I had recently started doing - like bringing my own towel, grocery bags, and coffee mug when going out, and using recycled paper products if used at all and use a half of what I used before.

Our group came up with many creative and doable ideas like showering less, walking to and from school, driving a hybrid car if we have to drive, composting, drying laundry indoors, using biodegradable products, turning off appliances like jars and computers. Sayuri said that environmentalist David Suzuki's family of four only produced one plastic-bag full of garbage per month, and that really shocked me. I have been doing what I can, and I can do a lot more!

One challenge expressed by a mother was that it was hard for her to convince her Canadian husband to have a more earth-friendly lifestyle - its thriftiness to him seems like one that belonged to poor people. Some suggested ideas like having their children influence their fathers, and showing numbers like hydro bills being effective to encourage awareness in one's spouse.

At the end each family group or individual presented a list of things they can and will do to reduce their impact on the environment. It was impressive how young children were so involved with this exercise, empowering their parents to think differently from what they were used to.

Another wonderful material that Sayuri shared with us was the legendary speech by Severn Suzuki, David Suzuki's daughter at the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil (for its text, go to How far have we come, 15 years later, now that CO2 emission is still increasing at an alarming rate? I am just made aware how oblivious I have been for all these years, being bogged down on micromanagement of family matters and my self-centred business and academic pursuits. I listen to Severn now. We cannot afford not to listen any more.

Thank you Sayuri for doing extensive research on the current situations of the earth and yet having us connect with the nature and the species with love and positive prospects for action. This is only the beginning.

With love and appreciation,


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Report of 'Families Creating Tomorrow's World' Part 1

This event was held in Japanese, but I want to share the wonderful experience with the wider community, so I will write this report in English.

'Parents and Children Creating Tomorrow's World' was held on Sunday November 12th, 2006 at Satoko's house (the home of Peace Philosophy Centre for now) from 10 AM to 12:30 PM with 11 families (12 adults - 1 father and 11 mothers and 21 children age 0 to 9) and 5 adults. The event was held to raise awareness for peace and sustainability among families and for them to create actual plans to save this world.

Peace Philosophers of today's event were: Noriko Ashizawa, an early childhood educator who grew up in Nagasaki and currently teaches at a Japanese language school in Vancouver, Sayuri Ishimoto, also an early childhood educator currently studying to be a licensed preschool teacher in the Capilano College ECE (Early Childhood Education) Program, and Makie Blaine, who shared her magical cooking skills by making healthy and delicious snacks for us.

The first part of the morning was facilitated by Noriko and her session was focused on peace. She used the DVD 'Peace Message' created by Ronnie Alexander that came with the general catalogue of Kyoto Museum for World Peace, Ritsumeikan University. She brought hand-crafted felt dolls of the cat Popoki and Ronnie, two main characters in the DVD, and children were magically introduced into the colourful journey of exploring peace with Popoki and Ronnie. What is peace? What colour is it? What does it smell like? What does it sound like? Is peace being able to help each other? Is peace about loving each other?

After showing the DVD, Noriko invited the children to draw on a piece of paper what peace was to each - also with a drawing of what their loved ones would look like when they are the happiest. Some children shared with us what they drew. Ms. E said peace was being able to play with her friends, being read to, and being able to write letters. Mr. K said peace was swimming. For Ms. M, the happiest she saw in her mom was when she cooked.

Noriko read to us 'the Peace Book' By Todd Park that talks about what peace could be about - e.g. sharing food, hugging friends, having a house to live in, being able to travel, being free, and being who you are. Then the room blacked out and now we were in the opposite world - we were in Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945 when the second atomic bomb on the human kind was dropped on the city and killed 70,000 people. It was the world where we were not free, we didn't have food, we were too hurt to hug each other, we didn't have a house to live in, we weren't able to travel, we weren't free, and we weren't who we were. With another blackout, we came back to the peaceful world.

Peace has to be earned. It has to be earned every day, not just for oneself but for all others. Not just for the human kind but for all species. This is the message that I learnt from Noriko's session. Being from Nagasaki, she carries special energy for empowering people with hope for peace, the kind of hope that revived the city from the devastation in 1945.

Thank you Noriko for sharing your passion for peace with us, and as always, your magical skills to draw children's attention and brings out the best of them. I will continue on to the next part.


Annoucement of First Event of BAYT, Bringing Asian Youths Together

Since the World Peace Forum in Vancouver this June, several UBC and Langara College students and staff members including myself have been talking about starting a project that brings together youths who are from Asian countries or who are interested in Asian issues for open dialogue to build mutual understanding and trust. After 5 months of preparation, our first event is finally happening! I am so proud of the intelligent and passionate youths from UBC and Langara College who have taken initiatives in incubating and launching this project. Anybody of all ages from any community is welcome at this event.

Here is the announcement.


Bringing Asian Youth Together!!Interested in Asian international affairs? Want to learn more about it? Want to share your thoughts with friends from other countries? A new project, Bringing Asian Youths Together (BAYT) is initiated by UBC and Langara College students, in cooperation with the Asian Studies Students Association (ASIA, BAYT is pleased to invite you to our first event. The goal of the project is to promote open and impartial dialogue among Asian youths, such as those from China, Korea and Japan. By exchanging opinions, leaning from each other and obtaining deeper knowledge, we will together broaden perspectives of the issues affecting East Asia and deepen understandings at grass-roots level. We believe this will bring harmony to the East Asia.

Date: Friday, November 24th.
Time: 12:30-2pm.
Venue: Henry Angus 326, UBC (University of British Columbia)

Refreshments will be provided.

Our first event will include:- Introduction of BAYT and its team members
- Icebreaker
- Brainstorming topics to be brought up in future BAYT events
- Recruitment of students who want to join the planning team

We hope to see you there!!

*This event is sponsored by Peace Philosophy Centre.

Question? E-mail to


Family Article 9 - 家族版 憲法九条

Dalai Lama said:

' Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each of us individually.

Peace, for example, starts within each of us.

When we have inner peace, we can be at peace with those around us. '

When I read this, I thought about writing a family version of the Article 9.

It would be:

In English,

Family Article 9
Aspiring sincerely to a family peace based on justice and order, Iforever renounce punishment as a right of a parent and the threat or useof force as means of settling family disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, physical,verbal, and psychological violence such as neglect, confusion and double standards as well as other potential means of violence, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of family members will not be recognized.

In Japanese,



I believe only when we exercise the Article 9 in our family, community, and workplace, we will be able to achieve the Article 9 in the world.

It is hard work, and we can do it.

Love and peace,


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Report of Article 9 Event on October 26th at Langara College

Report of 'Japanese Constitution Article 9 - Let's Talk and ThinkTogether'
For the introduction and intent of this event, please see the previous posting

The event organized by Vancouver Save Article 9 ( was held from 7 to 9 PM at Langara College in Vancouver, with facilitators for four discussion groups, Tom Andrews (English), Tatsuo Kage, YumikoKikuno and myself (Japanese).
Twenty-six people participated despite the heavy rain. The prior reading was given to the Japanese groups (Chapter 5 of "The National Referendum on the Constitution Article 9" by Hajime Imai - a collectionof 39 diverse opinions on the Article 9), and the evening was divided into three sessions - Part I: discussion with emphasis on opinions one agrees with; Part II: discussion with emphasis on opinions one disagrees with; Part III: writing one's own Article 9.

Some of the opinions and views expressed in the large group sharingwere:
  • The Article 9 is the symbol of apology to the Japanese atrocities duringthe WWII.
  • It is hard to interpret whether the right of collective self-defense isrecognized under the current Constitution.
  • Japan should strive to make diplomatic efforts so it won't be a targetof attack, and if it were still attacked, I would rather die.
  • The current Constitution has flaws. It is unacceptable for anindependent nation not to have armed forces.
  • I believe in the power of words, instead of power of military means. There are two ultimate choices when Japan is attacked - one is to fightback, and the other is not to fight back and call for the internationalcommunity to intervene.
  • There were many people at the World Peace Forum conference on theArticle 9 that were impressed with the peace clause that was exceptionalin the world. We should keep the Article 9 for the sake of those people.

The significance of this event is that it has taken place outside ofJapan including an English-language discussion group, which presented different perspectives from those of the Japanese-language groups. To me they appeared more objective and analytical.

Tom Andrews, the facilitator of the English group first presented the'points of departure' questions. I will quote some of them below.
  • What are your views on the intent, meaning & consequences of Japanretaining or revising the Constitution, particularly Article 9?
  • Is Article 9 practical in the context of today's world? What is thepossibility or consequences of Article 9 being extrapolated to andimplemented in other countries?
  • If you were given the opportunity and power to write an Article 9-likeclause for Canada's constitution, how would you phrase it? WHat wouldthe words and inclusion mean for Canada, for you personally?

Following is Tom's report of the discussion in the English group.

'Our discussions ranged over many topics, including: North Korea, China, South Korea and Japan's diplomatic relations with them, as they related to potential amendments to the Japanese constitution. Plus other nuclear-related issues, like proliferation the above listed countries, plus Iran, Israel, the US, Canada, Russia, India and Pakistan). The issue of oil as a cause for destabilization, along with the impact oil scarcity and the securing of access to oil on country-to-country relations in North East Asia continually returned to the discussion. The meaning of article 9 and peace, stability and history was an area that came up for discussion a number of times. National sovereignty and independence of action and dependence on the US versus international stability/US hegemony also was frequently front and centre. We also talked about Tatemae and Honne - even delusion or idealism in Japanese public image, diplomacy, mythology and cultural identity. David and I related information about the origins of the constitution, the process and politics of its drafting and the relationship to supreme court decisions. US bases and the divergence between the political and bureaucratic elites and their alliance and integration with those in the US and the general population was remarked on by David and myself and the role of the mass media.'

Following are some of the comments that participants shared with us.
I had a lot of fun in the discussion this evening (many similarcomments)

  • Being in the English group, it helped me to gain some knowledge aboutCanadian's understanding. I hope I can bring some Chinese people,especially young people to our discussion next time.
  • It was meaningful to exchange ideas with people from differentgenerations. The reading was long and there was gap between those whohad read and who had not. A brief summary of points for discussionwould have been helpful.
  • The 'discussion guidelines' and the availability of structured programnotes were helpful.
  • I wanted to hear more from the people in the other groups.
  • I found it a little bit noisy during open discussion.
  • I thought the "Questions for a point of Departure..." were very usefulin focussing our discussion. David and Tom's insights were most helpful.
  • This format seems well-suited for an exchange of ideas amongwell-informed people, and this is a good thing. Not being personallywell-informed on this issue, I will be watching to see if there is alecture that will provide an opportunity to learn more. Thank you forproviding this opportunity to an outsider like myself.
  • I thought it would be a challenge to write my own Article 9, but somepeople participated and I thought it was good.

The main objective of this event was for people with different opinions to get together to learn from each other, clarify one's opinion and gain new perspectives, and I believe this objective was generally well-achieved. I thank the participants for this precious opportunityof learning and sharing, and for the constructive suggestions for future events.

With appreciation,

Satoko Norimatsu

(Photos by Masa Kagami)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Women's Gathering in Surrey on November 4th

(This is an English summary of my Japanese report of the November 4thSurrey meeting.)

On Saturday November 4th, 13 women gathered at Ms. Mariko Yamamoto's home to talk about current issues in Japan and beyond.

This is the fourth of such an event in Surrey. As soon as I entered Mariko-san's home, I felt this incredible energy and warmth from this group of 13 women. Some of them had attended the previous events and others were the first-timers, so at the beginning I was not too surewhat the participants would expect of this gathering.

As I invited everyone to introduce themselves and share their expectations and questions, we naturally flowed into a stimulating discussion on topics from the revision of the Fundamental Law ofEducation, the issue of Hinomaru (the national flag of Japan) andKimigayo (the national anthem of Japan) issue at Japanese schools, PrimeMinister's visit to Yasukuni Shrine, to the dangers of DU (DepletedUranium) weapons and global warming.

Some of the key interests expressed by the participants were:
  • I want to explore what I can do as a mother.
  • I want to start by knowing things I don't know yet.
  • I would like to explore what I can pass on to the next generation.
  • I am interested in food safety and natural healing.

I showed the pictures and videos that I took when I visited Yasukuni Shrine on the morning of August 15th when then-PM Mr. Koizumi was there, to show how the right-wingers were freely expressing their opinions with large flags and banners right inthe middle of Yasukuni Shrine whereas those who oppose Koizumi's visitwere banned from the premises.

At the end I showed the DVD that I obtained at the 3rd ICBUW(International Coalition To Ban Uranium Weapons) Conference held inHiroshima from August 3rd to 6th, 'Unknown Terror of DU - Iraqi ChildrenNow-'. Many participants commented that they had been informed of therisks of DU weapons but they only knew the scale and seriousness of the damage when they saw this video.

I would like thank Mariko Yamamoto for hosting such an engaging eventfull of learning and meaningful conversation, Kyoko Hara and Seiko Roberts for co-organizing this event, and Yumiko Kikuno for coming with me to help with the event. Thank you to all who participated in this event on the very rainy Saturday afternoon. We should definitely get together on a regular basis and maybe at the next meeting develop some concrete action plan to help the world.

Love and Peace,

Satoko Norimatsu

Sunday, November 05, 2006

(Japanese) Women's Gathering in Surrey on November 4th

2006年11月4日午後、 Surrey で、バンクーバー九条の会の会員を含む、女性たちの会が開かれました。小学校の先生である山本真理子さんがご自宅を開放してくれました。昨年から、「映画日本国憲法」「ベアテの贈り物」を鑑賞したり、「もし地球が100人の村だったら」などを材料としながら、平和やこれからの世界についての話し合いをしてきて、Surrey での集まりは今回で4回目となります。中心になってきてくれた原京子さん、ロバーツ世以子さん、山本真理子さんら意識も高く行動に意欲的な方々によって支えられています。今回の会は13名の参加を得まして、初めての方も多くいらしていただきました。菊野由美子さんと、真理子さんのお友達ユキさんと共に、暴風雨の中運転して、少し迷ったのでかなり遅刻してしまったのですが、真理子さんの家に着いたとき、皆さんはコタツを囲んで懇談されておりました。部屋に入ったときに、何かとても暖かくそして力強い、ポジティブなエネルギーを感じたことが印象に残っています。


  • 母親として何ができるかを知りたい。
  • まず知ることから始めたい。
  • 次の世代に引き継ぐものを求めている。
  • 食べ物の安全や自然治癒法に関心を持っている。
  • 自分が何かできることがあれば。




最後に、日本のフォトジャーナリストがイラクで取材したDVD「知られざる劣化ウランの恐怖 イラクの子どもたちは、今」を皆で観ました。劣化ウラン兵器の危険については9月28日バンクーバー市内で行った勉強会で話したことをかいつまんで話し、最新のBBCニュースのプリントも配りました。このニュースでは、WHO(世界保健機構)による2001年の報告では、劣化ウラン兵器による健康上のリスクは小さいとしているが、国連の調査に加わった上級研究員の一人は、劣化ウランが癌の原因となることを示した研究が国連の報告では取り上げられったと述べていると伝えています。

出席された皆さんからは、情報をたくさんもらった、普段考えないようなことを考えたのでいい頭の体操になった、これからもこういう会を定期的に開いてほしい、今度やる「親子で創る明日の世界」イベントを Surrey でもやって欲しい、といった声が上がりました。山本真理子さんのお子さんが小さい子の面倒を見てくれ、その傍らで女性たちが世界の問題について学び語り合うという世代を超えた力強い会であったと思います。ホストしていただいた山本真理子さん、参加いただいた皆様、一緒に来てくれて貴重な意見をくれた菊野由美子さん、ありがとうございました。女性と母親の力をもっと発揮すれば世界は変えられると実感できた一日でした。



PS 今写真のアップロードでトラぶっています。解決次第写真も載せます!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

(Japanese) Follow Up on the Article 9 Event

This is the continuation of the previous report on the Article 9 event on October 26th at Langara College. The English version is coming soon!

10月26日のイベント「憲法九条 共に語ろう 考えよう」のレポートの続きです。



第2項 そのまま
第3項 外国との軍事、安全保障に関する条約、外国軍隊の駐留を認めない。」

第三項 我ら日本国民は日本の全ての地域を将来無防備地域と定め、それを諸外国に認めさせ、又諸外国に無防備地域を広めるべく全力を尽くす。」

一 同じ
二 同じ
三 自衛隊は時刻の危機のみ発動する。世界で中立をすこぶる努める。非人道的、利益重視は認めない。」


一 同じ
二 同じ
三 集団的自衛権は認められない。日本国は自衛隊を保持し、それを行使するのは、正当防衛のときのみである。また、国外での自衛隊活動を禁止する。」

「日本国憲法 第九条


日本国憲法 第二章 戦争の放棄 






(Japanese) Report of Event 'Japanese Constitution Article 9 - Let's Talk and Think Together'

The following is my report of Vancouver Save Article 9's event on October 26th in Japanese. The English version is coming soon.

イベント 「憲法九条 共に語ろう 考えよう」のレポート

10月26日(木)午後7時から9時まで、バンクーバーのランガラカレッジにて、バンクーバー九条の会主催による、表記のイベントが開催されました。司会は乗松聡子、グループディスカッションのファシリテイターは鹿毛達雄さん、菊野由美子さん、乗松聡子(以上日本語グループ)、Tom Andrews さん(英語グループ)が担当しました。

雨にもかかわらず26名に参加いただきました。5-7人の小グループに別れ、今井一著『「憲法九条」国民投票』(集英社新書)第五章「賛否両論のさまざまな主張」を読んだ上で1)自分の賛成できる意見に重点を置くセッション 2)自分が反対する意見に焦点を置くセッション 3)最後に「自分の九条」を書いてみる という構成で進行しました。


  • 九条は過去の日本の行為の謝罪のしるしである。
  • 今の憲法では集団自衛権が解釈でどう認められるのか等、わかりにくい
  • 攻められないような国家になるよう外交努力をして、それでも攻められたら、自分は抵抗せずに死を選ぶ。
  • 今の憲法は欠陥憲法、独立国として軍隊を持たないというのはおかしい
  • 軍事ではなく語り合いー言葉の力を信じる。
  • 攻められたらどうするのか?反撃するのか、反撃はせず国際社会に訴えるのかという究極の選択がある。
  • 九条は世界に類を見ない憲法。平和フォーラムで九条のことに感銘を受けた世界の人たちがたくさんいる。世界で九条の意義を認めている人たちのためにも九条は守りたい


  • 九条改憲問題の背景にある問題として、日本と南北朝鮮、中国との関係、それらの国々との歴史、石油を巡る世界的な争いについて語られた。
  • 北朝鮮や米国が使っているFear:恐怖感による安全保障を得るということは不可能である。アジア諸国のリーダーシップが必要。
  • 日本文化の側面としての「ホンネ」と「タテマエ」が言及された。
  • 米国の覇権に対する日本の国家主権、米国への依存関係もたびたび議論に上った。



  • ディスカッションがとても楽しかった:決して楽しい話題ではないのに楽しかった、と言ってくれた人が多数。これをきいてとても嬉しかった。何事も楽しいと思えることが一番だから。
  • 日本人以外の、即ちカナダ人の多様な視点を聞くことが役に立った。これからはもっと中国人、特に若い世代を連れてきたい。
  • 異なる年齢の人と話し合えたのがよかった。若い人を中心のイベントをやったらどうか。事前資料が長く、読んでいる人といない人の差が出た。当日参加の人のためのポイントをまとめた資料があるといい。
  • 「ディスカッションガイドライン」が役に立った。(事前に、人の話を最後まで聞くこと、話す時間を平等に持つこと等についてのガイドラインを日英で紹介した。)
  • 他のグループの人の意見が聞きたかった。(当初、途中で組換えをする予定だったが、時間の短さなどを理由に今回は同じグループでの話し合いを行った。次回は違う試みができるだろう)
  • この9条の会が、護憲の会であり、どうして護憲の考えを進めて行くかに重きを置いているのでしたら、改正論者の考えを聞くより、皆さんに分かり易く、現憲法をどう解読すれば良いかと言う事を考えるべきだと思います。
  • 一度、弁論大会みたいな事をしてみては。勿論、発言者は、前もって原稿をメールしてもらい、参加者にメールすると言う事をして、ある程度、予習してもらわなければ。
  • どうしても若者と年配 者の方がまじってディスカッションをすると「物を知らない(戦争の悲惨さを知らな い)若者に教えてあげよう」というムードに傾きがちで、「若い世代がなぜその ように考えているのかを知る」という所までいきつかないのが残念ではありまし た。戦争の悲惨さを知る=憲法を守る、という図式にはならないのが現状なわけで。でも逆 に世代間の認識の差が議論に深みをましたとも思います。
  • 各グループに改憲派あるいはその役目を果たせる人がいたら、話し合いがもっと盛り上がるような気がする。
  • カナダで九条の会という「運動」をする意味もクリアーにすると良いのではないか。
  • 自分の9条を書くというのは難しいのではないかと思っていましたが、数人の方が参加し、これもよかったとおもいます。
  • このような自由討論の企画は少なくとも半年に一回ぐらいはやっても良いのではないかと思いました。

文責 乗松聡子 

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Follow up on North Korea Discussion

I asked Dr. Wade Huntley, Director of Simons Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Research at UBC and one of the panelists of the discussion on October 13th, the following question:

The question that I had which I did not have time to ask you afterwardswas about your comment that the world had to move away from using the nuclear weapons as perceived currency of power because they had never served the purposes that they were believed to serve. How come these intelligent state leaders have not learnt from these past experiences and still cling to this 'currency'? How can we help the world leadersb ecome aware of this contradiction and act on its awareness?

Dr. Huntley's answers were the following:

' A full answer to your question would be long; indeed, one could write abook on it. In brief, I think there are several factors explaining thecontradiction:

  • Because nuclear weapons really can't be used, the extent and limits of their influence on international relations is still not exactly clear.
  • Adding to this difficulty, that influence changes as the world situation evolves; it's not the same now as in the Cold War.
  • Different values and objectives about the world also influence how youlook at nuclear weapons. If you seek national security and believerelations are always defined by power, you think about nuclear weapons strategically. If you seek world peace and believe ideas can create change, you are more disposed to see the fallacies. Equally intelligent people (including state leaders) can draw different lessons because they have different values and different conceptions of how the world works.
  • Some state leaders are not aware of the lessons other states have already learned. The US has in fact learned some important limits and costs of nuclear weapons, but probably Kim Jong il won't believe this --he will have to learn these lessons himself.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, even if everyone believes a certain thing should be done, it can still be a challenge to do it. In international relations, this is known as the "security dilemma." Even if everyone sincerely agreed on the desirability of a nuclear-free world(which today they do not), it would still be a major challenge to get from here to there without risking conflict and maybe violence along theway. '

Dr. Huntley's comments raise some key questions for the future of the human kind. If all nations have to learn the costs of having and using nuclear weapons in the way that US has, there won't be much hope for them to learn the lesson before this earth collapses. 'EVEN IF' all people believe that the earth would only survive by a nuclear-free world, to act on that belief would involve conflict and violence - possibly with nuclear weapons? I think the responsibility of nuclear-weapon holders of the world and their allies are to proliferate the lesson to the world and to themselves that nuclear weapons are too costly and not even effective currency of power, rather than imposing non-proliferation rules on the nations who don't have nuclear weapons or are about to have them. 'I have money so you can't.' 'I have oil so you can't.' ' I have nukes so you can't.' ' I polluted the air so you can't.' This is the message that the industrialized nations are sending to the rest of the world, and it simply won't work.

Comments are welcome. 日本語でもコメントをどうぞ。

Friday, October 13, 2006

Panel Discussion on North Korea at UBC

This is the report of the lecture that I attended today. This is my understanding of the discussion and may not accurately present the facts and opinions stated by the panelists. Comments and corrections are welcome.

"Implications of North Korea's Nuclear Test: A Panel Discussion"

presented by the Centre of International Relations, the Simons Centre for Disarmament andNon-Proliferation Research, and the Liu Institute for Global

Panelist: Wade Huntley, Director, Simons Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation ResearchPanelist: Kyung-Ae Park, Associate Professor, Institute of Asian Research
Chair: Brian JobDirector, Centre of International Relations and Liu Institute for Global Issues

Where: Multipurpose Room, Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC
When: 12-1:20pm Friday, October 13th

Following are the main points by each panelist including those in their answers to the questions from the audience.

Wade Huntley
  • There are many arguments over the issue including whether it was actually a nuclear test or not. If it was a nuke test, it was not successful. North Korea (NK) should have known they would reveal their lack of capability by doing the test, which supports the conclusion that it was done for political and symbolic reasons.
  • The significance of this event is more in how the world reacts to it than in the test itself. The more important event was that NK left Non-Proliferation talk in 2002/2003 and declared that it was going for a nuclear way. The test this time merely confirms this; nothing really changed because of this event. The significant change is our reaction to it (referring to 9/11)
  • US and China have divergent interests. Chinese are definitely angry about the NK test, but they do not react as strongly as US and its allies.
  • Where does it lead us? - if our goal is peace in the Korean peninsula, neither engagement nor confrontation by themselves would be sufficient measures. The only way is to move away from the perception that 'nuke is the currency of power,' or nuke is a useful diplomatic tool.
  • How do we achieve peace in NE Asia? We need to begin by creating a regional security framework to move away from the perception of balance of power maintained by nuclear weapons as its currency.
  • If attacked, NK has no chance of winning but NK can do a lot of damage going down not by its nuclear weapons but with their conventional weapons which can reach South Korea and Japan.
  • NK is not just trying to get attention. Kim Jong Il is cleverer than many think.
  • If advise Stephen Harper on what Canada should do, Dr. Huntley would say 1) Emphasize on the non-proliferation as the world not just NK, and 2) call Condoriza Rice to offer quiet back-channel communication

Kyung-Ae Park

  • Why did NK do the test?

1) Put pressure on US for bilateral talk. Washington made concession in 2005 Six-party talk but left them unsatisfied. Washington suspended all financial transactions at banks helping NK launder money. NK refused to go back to 6 nations' talk until US would lift the sanction. The 60 suspended accounts which was worth $24 million, however, was only worth 1% of NK's budget.

2) Domestic motivation - in the midst of sanctions, NK needed to unite people and boost the morale. Military was gaining more power and they were frustrated - they wanted to act. To them a nuke test was the most cost-effective way to address the imbalance of power.

  • What impact does it have?

South Korea (SK): the Sunshine Policy was in jeopardy. Poll says 70% of SK people want to change the policy, and 60% think SK needs nuclear weapons. Dr. Park was in NK on July 4 but it was 'business as usual' - economy and business were totally separated from the missile test.

Japan: it was an excellent opportunity to Abe. 83% of Japanese support sanctions in place. Japan's economic sanctions are however not significant. Japan only accounts for 4.8% of NK's trade, whereas China and Korea account for 39% and 26% respectively.

China: perhaps in the most difficult situation, squeezed between US and Korea. China uses NK as a buffer zone, and NK's collapse and the consequent flow of refugees will be a problem. China does not want to see Japan's remilitarization because of this, and wants to collaborate with US for its rise in the global economy. China will go with US economic sanctions but not military sanction. China supplies 70% of food for NK.

US: If Republicans lose on Nov 7 election, Democrats may push Bush for a bilateral talk. Military action is not an option at all. NK case is different from Iraq, Iran or Syria. In the North East Asia, Japan and South Korea are hostage to NK.

  • Dr. Park does not see any regime change without US attacking NK. There is an anti-Kim Jong Il group protected by China, but even if this group succeeds, it will be controlled by China.
  • Uranium-based programs will be a controversial issue soon. James Kelly visited NK in 2002 and acknowledged uranium programs.
  • The International Community using Chapter 7 for punishment, but not allow Article 42 (military sanction).
  • If advise Stephen Harper on what Canada should do, Dr. Park would say 'be more proactive than reactive.'

Comments are welcome, either in English or in Japanese. コメントは日本語でもどうぞ。

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Vancouver Save Article 9 Upcoming Event

I am a member of Vancouver Save Article 9 (VSA9), an organization established in May 2005 with the common purpose of preserving the 'Peace Clause' of the Japanese Constitution.

The Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is as follows:

Renunciation of War

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

November 3rd, 2006 will be the 60th anniversary of promulgation of the Japanese Constitution. VSA9 will host a special event to commemorate the day when the new constitution was announced to the people of the war-torn Japan in 1946.

An Interactive Workshop:

The Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution - Let's Talk and Think Together

Date: Thursday October 26th, 2006
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (door opens at 6:30 PM)
Place: Room A338, Langara College
100 West 49th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Parking: Flat Fee of $2.25 after 5 PM
Fee: $3
RSVP: by October 24th please.
Language: There will be many Japanese-speaking participants but there will be at least one English-speaking discussion group with a facilitator.

About the Event: This is VSA9's first attempt to create a space for dialogue about the pressing and controversial issue of the constitutional revision (or not) for everybody regardless of one's opinion about the issue. This was in response to many of the participants who attended the past events of VSA9 who gave feedback that they wanted to hear more from people who had different opinions. VSA9 also wanted to narrow the chasm and lack of communication between the people who were 'for' and 'against' the constitutional revision. This event is really going to be for everyone that is interested and does not require prior knowledge of the constitution of Japan or the historic issues. At the end of this workshop we will invite each participant to write your own ideal 'Article 9.'

Below is the same information in Japanese.

  『憲法九条 共に語ろう 考えよう』


日時   10月26日(木)午後7時-9時(開場6時半)

場所   ランガラ・カレッジ  A338号室(A棟3階)
      Langara College
      100 West 49th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

駐車   午後5時以降は flat fee $2.25

参加費用 3ドル(場所代として)

参加申込 10月24日までに までお願いします。