“What to do with the military?”—Thinking with Dr. Galtung Workshop

“What to do with the military?”—Thinking with Dr. Galtung Workshop

 On Friday, September 16, the Graduate School of International Relations, R-GIRO Research Program: Towards New Peace Studies,and Kyoto Museum for World Peace, Ritsumeikan University held a joint workshop at Ritsumeikan’s peace museum titled, “What to do with the military?”—Thinking with Dr. Galtung. The workshop lecturer, Dr. Johan Galtung, a prominent world figure in the field of Peace Studies, was previously a visiting professor at the Faculty of International Relations from 1997 to 1999.

  The underlying theme of the workshop was how to deal with the balance between Article 9 of the Constitution and the Self-Defense Forces in postwar Japan. The workshop explored from a peace studies perspective the possibility of the military’s transformation to a less violent organization. Akihito Kimijima (Faculty of International Relations, Professor) and Kyoko Okumoto (Osaka Jogakuin College, Professor) both coordinated the workshop. Approximately 130 participants gathered in what turned out to be a very productive workshop.

  First, Dr. Galtung gave a lecture where he remarked that thinking how to make the military unnecessary is essential and that the first top priority for Japan is reconciliation with surrounding Asian nations. He also said that we could transform the military from an aggressive one to a defensive one, from killing missions to lifesaving and disaster relief missions, and from armed peacekeeping to unarmed peacekeeping and conflict prevention.

  Group discussion was subsequently held where participants discussed various opinions and thoughts based on Dr. Galtung’s lecture about military and the Self-Defense Forces. The workshop finally ended on a high note with a question and answer session where many shrewd questions were tossed at Dr. Galtung including ones about the recent Norway terror incident in July 2011.

Workshop scene

▲ Workshop scene

Dr. Johan Galtung speaking

▲ Dr. Johan Galtung speaking

Group discussion

▲ Group discussion