Reason why the UN Charter was born
Y: So the Charter has been kept hidden. The article I consider to be its core is Article 103.
Y: It states “in the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the UN under the Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the Charter shall prevail.” In other words, there are almost 200 signatories of the Charter worldwide, and for them the Charter overrides any treaty between them. See.
In 1945, just before the war’s end, a conference was held in San Francisco to decide the articles. The Charter was so important that the U.S. actually conducted thorough intelligence activities against its allies. This was because the U.S. knew that making the Charter articles advantageous for itself was crucial in assuring postwar global hegemony.
Article 102 stipulated that all treaties be registered at the UN and made public, to be managed in an integrated manner.
The UN Charter is a huge blind spot in considering the Japanese Constitution. In order to understand it you need to cover at least these four points.
Y: First, the Atlantic Charter, or the Anglo-American Joint Declaration. It was declared on August 14, 1941, before the war between Japan and the U.S. began. See.
H: So early on.
Y: It was agreed on by U.S. President Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Churchill. What’s written there is the framework of the postwar world. See.
H: Even before the war.
Y: There are eight principles, clearly written on the basis that a world war would begin, with U.S. participation, but there’s no mention of it. Instead they focus on the postwar world.
Y: For example, the first principle was that no territorial gains were to be sought by either country. In other words, though they planned to start a world war and mess up the world, they were not to expand their territory afterwards.
The third one requires that they respect the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live. In short, national self-determination.
The sixth goes like this: “After the final destruction of Nazi tyranny, they hope for a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety within their own boundaries, and which will assure that all the men in all the lands may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.”
H: Sounds familiar.
Y: Yes. The latter half of the sixth principle resembles a part of the preamble of the Japanese Constitution. (Note: “We recognize and acknowledge that all peoples have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want.”) Obviously, Kades and the others referred to the Charter in writing it.
The eighth principle is also interesting:
“Both countries believe all nations of the world must come to the abandonment of the use of force”. This is one origin of the Japanese Constitution’s Article 9-2.
The other one is this: “Since no future peace can be maintained if armaments continue to be employed by nations which threaten, or may threaten, aggression outside of their frontiers, they believe, pending the establishment of a wider and permanent system of general security, that the disarmament of such nations is essential.” As we discussed earlier, about whether it’s an ultimate human dream or a punishment, it’s clearly both.
As you can see if you read the article, however, the “punishment” element was meant to be temporary, only until a security system at the global level could be established.
H: It’s incredible that they decided this before the war even started.
T：That’s how they do it.
Y: What’s amazing is that the UK and the U.S. first joined hands in what’s commonly called the Atlantic Charter. It’s officially the Anglo-American Joint Declaration. In other words, they declared that the postwar world would be centered on this alliance.
Four months later, they accordingly established the Allied Powers, based on a huge military treaty of 26 countries. In signing this, they took the USSR in one hand, and China in the other. On the other hand, Japan joined the Axis.
T: The Tripartite Pact between Japan, Germany and Italy.
Y: They established the so-called Axis, but it wasn’t a proper military alliance. Each member acted on its own. The Allies were better coordinated.
Also, the Atlantic Charter was decided on by only two countries, but when they became confident of their victory in the war, they went on to draft the UN Charter with the USSR and China, who later became permanent members of UN Security Council. It was drafted on October 9, 1944, and was called the Dumbarton Oaks proposals.
Afterwards, in 1945, the Allies gathered 50 countries to sign the UN Charter. Their skills in planning and implementing such projects was what the Japanese lacked.
T: Yes, it was very logical.
Y: At the time, China was already at war with Japan, while the USSR and Japan shared a Neutrality Pact. So the four countries didn’t all join together in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals. The UK and U.S. first discussed it with China, and then with the USSR.
In the following year they established the UN Charter. Let’s explain why this is related to Article 9-2. During the period between the Atlantic Charter and the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, wars between individual states were to be made illegal. They planned to create UN forces.
H: The collective security system.
Y: Yes. They envisioned that the Security Council would monopolize the right to engage in war. Member states would abandon wars and the right of belligerence, and supply military power to UN forces. So this is the origin of Article 9-2. As mentioned earlier, at the time Kades and MacArthur wrote Article 9, the first talks to establish UN forces were to begin, so they definitely took that into account.
Therefore, Article 9-2 cannot be a mere punishment as the rightists claim, because it would’ve been very realistic if the UN’s vision had been realized.
T: Right. The failure of the UN’s initial plans had a large impact on the postwar world. And it’s also largely responsible for confusion regarding the Japanese Constitution.
Y: The reason for the failure of this UN vision is the matter of collective defense. This article didn’t exist in the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, but suddenly appeared in the UN Charter.
It was believed that the U.S. included it at the request of South American countries. But that can’t be true. The U.S. knew that postwar hegemony depended on the UN Charter text, and were fiercely conducting intelligence activities, so it can’t have been so easy. Instead, what had an impact was the death of President Roosevelt, who had been spearheading the vision all along.
He died on April 25, to be succeeded by Truman, right before the drafting of the UN Charter. Also on the same day, an Inspector General of the US army named Stimson wrote in his diary that they had prospects of building and completing atomic bombs within four months.
These two things resulted in adding collective defense to the Charter. In short, it destroyed the UN ideal to make wars between individual states illegal and allowed such wars to take place.
T: The original UN ideals are the Dumbarton Oaks proposals, but they included the concept of collective defense just in case the proposals failed. In that sense, claims that the SDF should be allowed collective defense activities because it’s included in the UN Charter are very misleading.
We need to remember that the actual ideal was to ban wars between states.
Y: Moreover, MacArthur already had plans to run for President in 1948 after 2 years the Constitution was drafted. The U.S. had also previously written a no-war Constitution for the Philippines as well. So if he’d become President, and if the Dumbarton Oaks proposals had been maintained, Article 9-2 would’ve been very realistic. This was expected, but prematurely, when the Article was written.
Reality did not work out as expected, and both Kades and MacArthur fell from power afterwards, so they were unable to revise it once Japan regained independence. Kades has, in fact, repeatedly claimed that he expected it to be rewritten when Japan gained independence. I think he understands, though, that the premature decision was a failure on his part.
H: Japan should’ve written its own Constitution when it became independent. The fact that they didn’t is the biggest problem.
Y: The reason they couldn’t is that GHQ wrote it, handed it to the Japanese behind closed doors, and pretended that the Japanese had written it. This fact was concealed owing to the censorship of that time, so only the top Diet members were aware of it. Common citizens continued to believe the Constitution was written by the Japanese.
T: So no one insisted on rewriting the Constitution when Japan gained independence.
Y: If they’d rewritten it then, things may have been different.
T：That’s why Article 9-2 has been left hanging.