Increasing Support In Japan For Changing Pacifism Article In Constitution

By Darren Smith, weekend contributor

Flag of JapanJapanese voters are split over changing the country’s pacifist constitution, in order to allow Japan to ease limits on the military, according to a recent poll. About 50 percent of voters want Japan to be able to exercise its right to self-defense in case of an international conflict, while almost 90 percent of lower house lawmakers back the change.

The survey was made by the Asahi newspaper and a University of Tokyo research team. It showed that half of the voters want the revising of the constitution, up from 41 percent in 2009.

Japan’s prime-minister Shinzo Abe made clear he wants to change the constitution in order to give more power to the military. The constitution has never been changed since it was drafted by the United States Occupation forces in 1947, after the World War Two.

Abe spoke of the importance of defending Japanese territory from the growing assertiveness of the Chinese in the region. China raised tensions in the area in November when it created an air defense zone that encroached on the territories of neighboring countries.

Shinzo Abe
Prime Minister Abe

Japanese lawmakers reacted angrily and accused the Chinese government of being “reckless and risky” and attempting to alter the “status quo” in the region. China, for its part, has called on Japan to desist from provocative actions and repair diplomatic ties between the Asian nations.

The two countries have been trading diplomatic blows over the last year over a group of islets in the East China Sea. Although Japan administers the Senkaku Islands, China maintains it has a historic claim on what it calls the Diaoyu Islands.

Article Nine of the constitution states:

“Renounciation of War. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

The Japanese conservative daily Sankei Shimbun on Wednesday, and said the constitution will have been revised after Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games in 2020. Article 9 of the Japanese constitution forbids the use of war to settle international disputes and calls for peace to be found using justice and order. The article was added to the Japanese constitution following WWII

China is not the only nation having strife with Japan. South Korea also has long entrenched animosity toward Japan especially after the brutal occupation by Japanese forces during the Second World War. North Korea further heightens tension with Japan with missile tests including an incident where a medium range missile was fired by North Korea over Japan.

Given Japan’s history during the 20th century should Japan alter its constitution given the threats its government perceives today?


Tokyo Times
LA Times

By Darren Smith

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

30 thoughts on “Increasing Support In Japan For Changing Pacifism Article In Constitution

  1. I have always found Japan interesting. I believe still one of the most closed societies. As an interesting contrast to the US, I don’t think anyone other than Japanese descent can be a citizen of Japan. And yes, from the Japanese people I have met, I get the feeling that while they like the US, they kind of consider us a nation of carnies. Fun to visit… Anyway, I don’t think it’s up to us (we don’t seem to understand that here) if they want to rearm, but we better find some diplomats somewhere who know how to play other countries against each other and away from us. As noted above, we’re on the slide, we will not have the continued opportunity to police the world whether citizens here want to or not.

  2. Slohrss – agree that the Japanese are a very closed homogenous society, and that they still consider us barbarians (although I love your description – carnies!)
    Any increase in their military ” bodies” is somewhat limited due to their very low birth rate , but they have been working on robots for a very long time – I see a highly roboticizedmilitary in their future

  3. That is the scary thing about the next upheaval in humanity. Developing technology can pretty much totally isolate attackers from the horror and ravages of war–making it much easier to take part in. Kind of like Obama’s sad song, “Send in the Drones…” Heck, maybe the next war will be like Eminiar VII and we’ll play it out in video games. Then walk into disintegration machines when we lose…? The nationalistic fervor is growing around the world, and it seems more like the world before WWI every day. Japan is just another example.

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