To Overcome the Crisis
Today, we are directly facing many serious problems such as the crises of global-scale environmental destruction, poverty and famine in developing countries, and wars and conflicts. The actual condition is far more serious than generally thought, and it is predicted that in the near future, many people on this earth will suffer great losses.
Japan, similarly, has many serious societal problems, but now, the most urgent issue is that of revision of the Constitution. This is a critical issue that will sway the future of Japan and determine whether Japan will again participate in wars.
Many concerned people have worked hard to resolve the various problems. They are also continuing their efforts at present. Through this kind of effort, various problems have been alleviated or resolved, and many results have been achieved. Nevertheless, unfortunately, we have not been able to reach the point of fundamentally overcoming the serious global-scale crisis we face.
As for the realization of peace, it rests on the pure feelings in the hearts of the people. It is very important to raise our voices and call for "Anti-war" and "Protect the Peace Constitution" with this pure feeling when considering the wide view of world peace. But, is it really possible to realize peace only by these means?
To prevent war, it is most important to create a situation in which conflict is not necessary. War can only be prevented when countries and ethnic groups recognize each other and understand each other's feelings and standpoint. For this, the most certain method is to become people who have love and respect for each other. In addition, it is also absolutely necessary to become an important partner whom the other party "cannot do without". It is this kind of conduct that is the source of strength for creating peace.
Peace cannot be attained merely with words. Peace cannot be achieved unless each of us creates it. First, if Japan, of its own accord, takes action toward peace, the road to world peace will open. Peace is not a "zero sum" game in which one person's gain is another's loss.
Many people are feeling that to make a fundamental level breakthrough in the predicament the world and Japan face, a completely new way of thinking from the past is necessary.
National Egoism Is the Fundamental Cause of the Crisis Situation
To plan a fundamental-level resolution for the various problems, it is necessary to investigate the root cause and remove it. In essence, it can be said that the egoistic desires of humans has brought about the serious problems of the world and Japan. However, today, the egoism of individuals has conglomerated, increased to hundreds and thousands times the total sum, and expanded to become a giant power called "national egoism".
At present, national egoism has become the fundamental policy of many nations, and their actions follow the way of thinking, "As long as it is for my country's benefit, it is good." In the international society, this not only creates a stance of opposition with other countries, but also forms at the root level, all of one's country's systems and mechanisms such as industry, economy, education, and social welfare, and even the everyday consciousness of the people. This influence is extremely strong, has been accepted as the conventional way from as far as we can remember, and has penetrated deeply into our minds without our knowledge.
Taking for example the environmental issues and problem between the north and south hemispheres, the fundamental cause is the desires of many people seeking and pursuing comfort, convenience and material prosperity. This encouraged the ideal of ever-increasing economic growth, increased development of science and technology for mass production, mass consumption, and mass waste, and created a social system that promotes competition. Further, national egoism is the greatest force in creating or adding to the various problems, and hindering their resolution. Therefore, planning the dissolution of national egoism is the only road to overcoming the crisis situation faced by Japan and the world.
Until now, there have been more than a few people who have called for dissolution of national egoism, recognizing that national egoism is the principle source of hindrance to world peace. However, all were abstract, and many preached, "We should turn away from national egoism, and everyone in the world should be in harmony." Effective concrete measures were not explained. The conflict arising from national egoism is not something that can be resolved by discussions among the nations. Not through discussions and making demands
on the other party, but first, one country must make a unilateral declaration to renounce national egoism and put it into practice. I feel there is no other way to open the road to resolve the conflicts of national egoism.
"Nation for International Peace and the Environment" as the Country's Ideal
To resolve the various problems of developing countries and conserve the global environment, it is necessary to renounce national egoism and, similar to domestic policies, shift the fundamental direction of the nation's policies toward activities for international environmental conservation, advancement of social welfare, and realization of peace. In other words, in addition to planning for the enhancement of domestic education and social security, the most important national policy is to increase the collective effort of the country and contribute to conservation of the world environment, advancement of social welfare, and realization of world peace.
To put it simply, become reborn as a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment". For the international society, it will be the birth of a country based on a completely new principle, "Renunciation of National Egoism". Then, the present tensions between nations will be greatly eased, and toward resolution of the various serious problems, progress will be made to develop a framework of collaboration among nations.
Nevertheless, before a country can begin to engage full-scale in activities as a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment", a great transformation is necessary in all of the nation's frameworks and mechanisms, and industry's way of being. It is inconceivable that this kind of major transformation would be realized immediately. To reach that point, a certain amount of time is, of course, necessary. That being said, it is not the case that the beginning of alleviation of conflicts among nations will start after the actual birth of this kind of nation.
If, in a country, the movement, "Let us raise an ideal for the nation of International Peace and Environmental Conservation" gains momentum, activities that resonate with this movement will arise among concerned citizens around the world, and this will begin to ease tense relations among nations.
This movement will spread more and more, and eventually, if that country declares its national policy to be a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment", tense relations in the world will be eased considerably. If this happens, various countries will discard their conflicts of interests, and scenes of cooperation toward resolution of problems will be visible throughout the world, and gradually, the concept of a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment" will be implemented. People around the world will begin to paint a great dream of a new world for the future. Then, following the first country, in countries around the world, movements will arise to be reborn as a nation that renounces egoism.
Japan Is the First to Renounce National Egoism
Now, which country can of its own accord, renounce the national egoism that has continued throughout the history of humankind, and can be reborn as the first country in human history to be a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment"? Theoretically, any country can do so. However, the point of this concept is "to not make demands of others, but first, of one's own accord, and unilaterally, renounce national egoism". Japan, in which this concept was born, should be the one to begin this movement. If Japan does not do so, this concept will not take shape, and further, realistically, it will not become an effective force.
There is one more reason. That is, Japan is the only country in the world that has suffered the devastation of the atomic bomb. The Japanese, who know to the depths of their flesh and bones the miseries of the atomic bomb, have appealed to the world about the terror of nuclear warfare, and upheld its three antinuclear principles. I feel that in addition to avoiding nuclear war, to resolve the crises that human society faces, such as the global-scale environmental problems, Japan's taking initiative to become reborn as a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment" is a mission in the history of humankind given to the people of Japan.
Further, there is yet another reason. Compared with other countries, Japan has an overwhelmingly advantageous condition. That is, Japan has the Peace Constitution that not only declares "renunciation of war and renunciation of armaments", but it is the only one in human history to proclaim renunciation of national egoism and
"to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace".
The concept of raising as a national policy, "achievement of international environmental conservation and peace", is in the same spirit as the Peace Constitution, more actively explains, and makes the idea more realizable. In this sense, for not only Japan, but for the future of the world, Japan's Peace Constitution is one of the most valuable treasures of humanity.
Additionally, with such strengths as industrial and economic capabilities, intellectual level of the people, scientific and technological strengths, and accumulation of culture, Japan is blessed with favorable conditions to make major contributions to world environmental conservation, peace and social welfare as a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment".
However, regarding the Constitution, the reality is that a fairly large number of people do not fully understand the meaning of the Constitution, and the post-war people of Japan did not make efforts to bring to life the spirit of the Constitution.
So here, to bring the present constitution to life, I feel strongly that it is necessary to initiate a movement in Japan to raise an ideal (national policy) as a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment", make this movement active, and ultimately, to declare both domestically and internationally, the raising of an ideal for Japan as a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment".
Create a Completely New Trend
The important point is that this proposal is NOT one that will call on the present framework and influential powers, and by transforming Japan's social framework and organization, immediately try to bring to reality a Nation for International Peace and the Environment. First, the aim for the time being is to raise the ideal in Japan, "Let us aspire to become a Nation for International Peace and the Environment". By gathering strength in agreement with this concept, it will create a completely new trend or atmosphere in the country, and ultimately, this concept will influence the political world.
This proposal is one that suggests changing the fundamental character of the nation toward the correct direction, and does not claim to attempt to immediately and directly change the nation's specific policies. Each individual who agrees with this proposal of course has various opinions about the various problems. Therefore, it is natural that individuals express their opinions and thoughts, and take various concrete actions. Further, it is natural that movements based on this proposal will connect with and lead to cooperation with other movements.
The Preamble and Article 9 of the present constitution are based on exactly the same spirit as the concept of this proposal. The issue of revising the Constitution is a major one that questions the fundamental character of the nation, whether it will "become a country supported by military force, or become a country that spreads peace to the world". Therefore, for the constitutional issue, it is natural to proactively speak out from the standpoint of this proposal, and that act itself will lead to further development of this movement.
First, Start by Raising an Ideal
To reiterate, this proposal is not "Let us immediately bring to reality a Nation for International Peace and the Environment." Instead, first, it is "Let us raise an ideal for the country to aspire to become a Nation for International Peace and the Environment". I hope that by the number of people who agree with the concept, "Let us raise an ideal for the county", increasing beyond a certain point, it will create a large influence domestically and internationally.
Once the ideal for the country has been raised, the various systems and organizations such as industry, education, and government will be transformed, and we will strive forward, with our hearts racing fast, toward creating a new country.
It is very difficult for an individual to overcome egoism by oneself. However, if the national trend to aim toward a nation that renounces egoism gains strength, there will be large-scale international aid by various organizations, and new forms of interactions with people of foreign countries will progress on a large scale. In this atmosphere, through friendly competition, it will become very easy to free oneself from egoism.
In this way, to many countries and people of the world, Japan will become a "necessary and vital country" and "a respected country". There will be no country that would try to attack this kind of Japan. If, by any chance, there were a country that was planning to attack Japan, it would be strongly criticized by other countries that would say, "if you attack, we will break off all diplomatic relations and cut off trade". The country would become isolated, and it would become unable to actually attack.
Following the developments of the circumstances, the present Self- Defense Force would gradually reduce its arms and eventually become an unarmed organization. Then, the Self-Defense Force would change its form to become an organization that can use its capabilities for activities such as conservation of the environment, aiding developing countries around the world, and rescuing in international disasters.
On one hand, to increase substantially Japan's self-sufficiency rate in energy without relying on nuclear energy, large-scale research and development for new energy and energy-savings will be conducted. Further, to increase the food supply self-sufficiency rate, various policies will be implemented.
People around the world might look at these kinds of movements in Japan with doubts at first about whether Japan is sincere and serious. However, the new movements in Japan that are rooted in a human's inherent way of being will appeal to the unvarnished hearts of the people around the world, and the conflicts among nations will gradually dissolve, opening the path to a new culture of unity and harmonious coexistence.
Now, humanity is directly facing an unprecedented crisis, but the mistakes that humans have created are, without fail, rectifiable by humans. When we humans realize our mistakes and reflect upon them, we are able to exert tremendous strength. We, who live in the present age, need to become deeply aware of this and regain trust in ourselves.
Let Us Create an Exciting Nation
The aim of this movement is to resolve the various problems of Japan and the world, and bring to reality world peace, but there is one more important aim. It is no other than to revive in the people of Japan, the joy in living, motivation in living, and pride.
With the ideal of a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment", the work and studies of each individual directly tie to world environmental conservation, the social welfare of humanity, and the realization of world peace. The people of Japan will have boundless pride toward the country. Further, they will feel that their daily work and studies are playing a role in their country's renewal and world peace, and they will feel truly happy about themselves having been born in such a wonderful Japan. A country about which you find yourself feeling excited and joyful, just from envisioning this scenario ─ this is the shape of the future to which Japan should aspire.
The movement based on this proposal is not such that someone becomes a leader and the leader's orders are followed. In this movement, the correct path is for everyone who agrees to the concept of the proposal to offer their wisdom and efforts, and nurture and develop the concept. Further, we do not consider forming a particular organization based on this proposal, expanding the organization, and by that force, making Japan a nation to renounce egoism. This movement aims to have this proposal penetrate into our daily lives and spread.
This is definitely not something pressing for a choice between two options, "Is it that movement or is it this movement?" As we engage in our daily lives, the correct way to proceed with this movement is to stand with a view of human history, understand this concept deeply, and spread the idea. Therefore, this movement can become a common point for all people who are wishing for a better society. Further, I believe this will help each of us individuals realize happiness.
Of all times, now, humankind must become serious and overcome this crisis. At the present rate, humankind that nature has created may perish in the near future. We must first understand the essence of this crisis, and reflect on our actions that have created this crisis. Moreover, we must free Japan from national egoism, abandon the foolish dreams of a "mass consumption superpower" and military superpower, and in earnest, stand at the honorable lead toward the realization of world peace.
For this purpose, the fastest route is first, for you to understand deeply the concept of this proposal. If you understand this concept well, you will see that regarding the nation and the fate of humankind, these are not separate from each of us individuals, and are not problems beyond our reach. Further, discover with joy that the key, which will be the first step toward the renewal of Japan, is in the hands of each of
us individuals. It is not something to be done by one person. It will be done by everyone. That is why it will be possible.
Wishing for co-existence and co-prosperity of all humankind, I hope that people who wish for our brilliant renewal will open their hearts─ for the time being, put on the shelf the conventional ways of thinking they have accumulated ─ and lend an ear to this proposal. I desire ardently that through the wisdom and knowledge of many people, we can heighten the quality of this proposal, and you will participate in bringing to reality this ideal.
As a Backbone Concept for Various Peace and Green Movements
The concept of this proposal is that this idea will penetrate into all people, groups and organizations in Japan's society, various movements will be networked, a completely new unified flow will form, and an ideal for a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment" will be raised in Japan.
In Japan, there are many thousands of groups working with the theme of peace or the environment. They are working earnestly to improve the critical situation in the nation and internationally, and have achieved various results. Nevertheless, the actual situation is that the overall condition of society has become worse and worse.
For each of our efforts to become more effective, it is necessary for the various individuals and groups to become interconnected for one major ideal about which everyone can feel satisfied. The national ideal of a "Nation for International Peace and the Environment" is the kind of ideal that can become a common aim. When the many individuals, groups, and organizations can act while exerting their originality, and by holding the idea of "Let us raise a national ideal of a Nation for International Peace and the Environment" as the backbone of their variety of activities, a strong network should form.
From the very beginning, for this concept, there is no exclusivity.
There is nothing to oppose.
Under this ideal, if one major network forms, as the various movements support and link to each other, it will create one large flow for transformation. I hope from my heart that the many people who
are proceeding with their activities will, standing with the view of the history of humankind, understand the meaning of this proposal, and proactively engage in this ideal.
Love of Peace in Each Person Is the Lead in This Movement
As for the way to spread this proposal, there is no prescribed method, so according to each person's level of enthusiasm and ability, situation, and circumstance, we can be creative and proceed in a variety ways.
If we think in this way, in this movement, there is no need for leaders or organizations. The love of peace in each person is the lead. Therefore, it is good enough for this idea to spread through different ways according to each person's situation. The concept of this proposal is that the objective is to link together as many people, groups and organizations as possible.
There are probably people who, after reading the main text of this book, are thinking, "I agree with the proposal, but what should I do concretely toward realization of this proposal?" For bringing this proposal to reality, what is needed most at the present stage, is increasing the number of people who agree with this proposal. For this purpose, making colleagues according to one's situation is a necessity. There are various methods, but first, start by telling your family and the people around you.
Recommending this book or books that will be published from now on, and introducing the webpage of this proposal and movement are probably the easiest and most effective methods. Further, participating in lectures and study groups related to this proposal and movement would be effective.
As you proceed with your activities, you may become enlightened by others or by resources and deepen your conviction, and at times, you may have some doubts. If you have questions or doubts, or feel little progress by thinking about them by yourself, discussions with your colleagues will be most important. For this, let us actively use websites, blogs, mail magazines, and mailing lists.
Besides these, in this movement, there are countless ways to participate. For example, some ideas include publishing of books related to this proposal, initiating a group or a think-tank for this
proposal, offering knowledge or information, offering funding, organizing and holding lectures and study groups, calling on various types of media, translation of books into other languages, interpreting at lectures and meetings, and creating websites and blogs.
To proceed with these ideas, as a place for various social interactions such as exchange of opinions, I have established the website listed below. By making contact through this website, I would like to enhance and enrich this movement. I am truly looking forward to seeing how far this movement will spread.
Website for "Beyond National Egoism" network:
"Beyond National Egoism" network office: e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org
Let Us Proceed Brightly and Joyfully
The last thing I would like to convey is that for this movement, I would like to proceed with the people who "agree" with this proposal. I would like us to envision a brilliant future for Japan, think about with a feeling of excitement, "What can I do so that I can help in some way", be creative, and work with a cheerful, joyful feeling and with hope. I feel this attitude is the most important one when carrying forth with this movement. Without getting caught up in conventional past ways of thinking, let us be flexible in our way of thinking and exchange our ideas.
What is being proposed here is not a plea to "please cooperate with my way for raising an ideal for the country". Instead, it is calling for "Everyone, let us pool all of our wisdom, raise an ideal for the country of Japan, and eventually let us make Japan a Nation for International Peace and the Environment"
Shohei Nomura April 8, 2008
from the book: BEYOND NATIONAL EGOISM
The Road to a Nation for International Peace and the Enviroment
by SHOHEI NOMURA
Mamizu-Shuppan Publishing Company
written in Japanese (Nanatsumori Shokan 2007)
A Country's Ideal and the Constitution – The Road to a Nation for International Peace and the Environment
[Kuni no Riso to Kenpo – "Kokusai Kankyo Heiwa Kokka" e no