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[YRP Students' Essays] School Trips Save the World!?

I went to Hiroshima for an elementary school trip, and Nagasaki for a junior high school trip, and also Okinawa for a high school trip. It seems like I have been to all the places where "love" and "peace" are valued the most in Japan. As you can see, I have learned a lot (I mean A LOT) about wars, how scary they are and how stupid we were. I watched a lot of tragic war movies and documentaries, I read many fat books about World War II, and I listened to some stories from the victims of wars who had sad cruel experiences. Those great efforts that I made were to one aim, teachers told us; that is to pass the memories and precepts of wars to the next generation. However, since I started learning about war history I have had one question that bothers me all the time. Recently the doubt has been swelling up and up, and it is nearly to explode! Now I want to raise my voice and cry. "Why don't you join us on the school trips,?cMr. Koizumi and President Bush! "

Issues about the Iraq war have been argued and discussed by many people who are either against it or for it. However, while we were arguing about the justice of starting the Iraq war, America kind of made a false start and bombed Iraq, and just a few days after that Iraq was "freed" from Saddam Hussein - that means the Iraq war ended, theoretically. After that America asked many countries to relieve Iraqi and rehabilitate Iraqi towns, which they bombed. Since Mr. Koizumi is a very good friend of President Bush, he instantly agreed to the suggestion, for the honor of Japan in the world, and also for the friendship with America and President Bush. Lately he even announced arbitrarily that Japan would join the multinational force when he was far away from Japan. I think now it is the time to ask Mr. Koizumi what he is thinking about the importance of our Japanese nation. Remembering how he did not explain well about pension problems and other things he has done, we may overlook his actions saying, "Oh, he is just a poor talker." However, since the problem about Japanese Self-Defense Forces concerns the whole nation, and Japanese national security, we cannot just stay calm and keep our fingers crossed in order that we can get though the war safely. To me, Mr. Koizumi and President Bush are trying to take us back to the early twentieth century and accelerate our nations to be in much danger; wars.

However, in Japan, sending the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to Iraq has been a bigger issue than the Iraq war itself. Precisely, in Japan the position of the Self-Defense Forces is very ambiguous. In the ninth article of the constitution, it says that Japan must not possess an army and wage wars of aggression or anything, but Japan can organize a Self-Defense Force to protect itself. However, I think that the constitution is also ambiguous and incoherent. Since we abandoned the right to wage wars for anything, even to protect ourselves, what is the job of the so-called Self-Defense Forces? Why can't it be called a "rescue team" when that is mostly what they do in fact? However, Japanese funding for armaments is one of the ten highest in the world and actually Japan has a kind of highest level of preparedness, even though we must not fight. You see how "weird" our proudest boast of the constitution is. In my opinion, I think it should be revised to be clear what we can do and what we must not do. Since the first thing you learn at school about writing essays is to be sure of what you mean and to be clear about what you want to say, why is the constitution so unclear? The unfavorable points about the constitution are not only that it is hard to understand but also that it can be interpreted in many ways. Mr. Koizumi took advantage of its ambiguity, and he sent the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, saying, "The Self-Defense Force is not there as an army to fight! It is there to help people!" I do not say that to send Self-Defense Forces to Iraq is a bad thing but it is sad that the ninth article of our constitution that we are proud of cannot always help the world to be more peaceful.

If Mr. Koizumi and President Bush have learned about the histories of wars, why could they have done such things in Iraq? You may think Mr. Koizumi has done nothing to wage wars, but I think he is no different from President Bush since he supports him. America attacked Iraq just for its own profit and egoism. Even though we have not directly attacked Iraq Japan supported the attack. I do not think that the voices of the victims of the Okinawa War and atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki have reached Mr. Koizumi or President Bush. Why do the victims of war talk themselves hoarse and tell their experiences to people when they still suffer from the aftereffects of wars? Why do we students study so hard to learn the sad and tragic memories of wars? Obviously, it is only for world peace that we have desired for a long time! Many people in Japan disagree with the Iraq War and they really wish for peace. However the world is changed by a few people like President Bush and Mr. Koizumi. I have one suggestion to Mr. President and Mr. Koizumi. "Why don't you join our school trips to Okinawa, Hiroshima and Nagasaki?" Japanese School trips can save the world.

Article 9 Association. Article 9 Association. Last rev. Aug.15, 2004.

<>. Access date June 31,2004.
Ebata Kensuke. Japanese Army System. Kodansha, Tokyo, 2001.
"Iraq no Jieitai, Houjindoukou." NIKKEI NET. Last rev. Aug.31, 2004.

Access date June 31 2004.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Maiko Yoshimoto, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this artic le on the CRN web site.
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