Pioneer Peace Scholar Calls For An 'umbrella' Of Peace


Pioneer peace scholar calls for an 'umbrella' of peaceA pioneering peace scholar has criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy of "proactive pacifism," saying it butchers the Japanese Constitution's war-renouncing Article 9.
Johan Galtung, 84, also worries that the exercise of the right to collective self-defense will destabilize Japan and subject it to possible counterattacks.

Galtung obtained doctorates in mathematics and sociology at Norway's University of Oslo, and in his 20s became an associate professor of sociology at Columbia University in New York. He turned down a professorial post there and founded the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

He later returned to the University of Oslo, where he became the world's first professor of peace studies, but quit after eight years because, he says, a professor should not stay in one place for too long. He subsequently taught at universities around the world, and has also worked as a peace mediator in conflict zones. His method is not to try to reach a compromise between opposing forces, but find a new, transcending solution to the conflict. Here, he says, he is aided by the logical thinking and inspiration gained from his mathematical studies.

Galtung calls for an umbrella of peace, rather than a nuclear umbrella, and argues that Japan's international contributions to peace should start with its neighboring countries. He suggests joint-management of territories disputed between Japan and Russia, China and South Korea.

He also predicts that, by 2020, stronger cooperative relations will have been established between East Asian countries, a sign of his high expectations for Japan.

Galtung first coined the term "positive peace" to refer to the absence of structural forms of violence, such as poverty and discrimination. Meanwhile, he posited, a lack of direct violence, such as war or terrorism, could only be considered "negative peace" if structural violence still exists.