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 try and forget about the people who don’t believe in sin.

  2. That is what anyone who understands history has seen for millennium. Most of history revolves around The Seven Deadly Sins.

    1. Nick – one has to first believe in the concept of sin.

  3. Had a young friend (exchange student) years ago, who after a few glasses of saki would spew out “truths” he’d been taught from an early age regarding WWll and his ancient culture… Japan’s people didn’t accept “surrender” and according to him they’d someday avenge it. Our government knew this and had that “NEVER” clause put in… our right as the victors eh? I’m seeing history repeating itself globally, am I the only one?

  4. Paul, I’m more w/ Isaac on this. Japan, if armed, needs to be kept on a very short leash and choke collar.

    1. To each his own. 🙂 But, I am for selling product to Japan.

  5. There is a more important reason, than that of neutralizing the country because of what it did in WW2, for Japan to NOT have the restrictions on its military lifted. Japan has the technology, industrial power, financial power, and population mindset devoid of its own aggressive history, sufficient, that if the military were again to be given ‘carte blanche’ in that size of an economy, it could and probably would create a navy and air force that could take on those of China in conflicts much larger than these minor territorial disputes.

    Japan is also involved in disputes with Russia, Vietnam, South Korea, and the Philippines over island territories in the China Sea. Japan is an archipelago composed of many uninhabited islands that it claims that are closer to these other countries than to the Japanese main islands. These claims are from a time of imperialism and forced annexation.

    Japan, with an increased military could not only force the issue with China but bully, as it has a reputation of doing, these other countries. These territorial disputes represent offshore wealth in the form of oil and gas.

    There is a stronger force in the world today that the world should collectively and individually be using to determine ownership of these islands. Firstly, if the islands lie within 200 miles of a country’s sovereign territory then they should belong to that country. This is an accepted distance used throughout the world today. If the islands are within 200 miles of more than one country then the value is split evenly or at the very least using a formula involving proximity. If the islands are outside of all countries’ 200 mile limit then the issues should be resolved in an international court of law.

    In most of these cases China has no territorial claim under the 200 mile argument. Taiwan, South Korea and the Philippines have stronger claims than Japan regarding some of them.

    Using history as it has been referenced by China and Japan falls into the realm of might versus right. China’s ancient maps from centuries ago being referenced amounts to nothing but might. Historically, Japan has nothing to say.

    The real threat is a Japan with its population that still does not accept its fault in WW2, rearmed. The issue is the oceans and the oceans belong to the planet. The international community should decide, not these backward nations with increasing militaries.

    1. Isaac – it has been 70 some years since the WWII ended. Realpolitik is the issue here. Should we allow Japan who is perfectly capable of affording armament in rearming herself? She has an unstable neighbor, North Korea and we do not have enough troops to protect her. If Japan reams, we can get out of Japan and Okinawa, unless we want staging bases close to Asia. We would no longer have the excuse of protecting Japan. It could save us money and we could sell them weapons, win-win.

  6. Reasons why the Japs should keep their Constitution as it is and not build any military: Rape of Nanking; Pearl Harbor; Bataan Death March; Prime Minister Who Flung Fu.

  7. Yep, just what we need! Is this the same Abe that made a speech about how American is a mongrel nation and he didn’t mean it in a good way?

    The US is losing its position in the world because the government has forgotten that its the humans not the corporations who should run the government and enjoy its benefits and that we should be developing our own country including manufacturing and infrastructure not destroying others and then wasting billions on contractors who just throw it all away. When government spying is a multibillion dollar business you know the country is on the wrong track.

  8. Unbroken was a very good book about an amazing man who has had an amazing life. However, I do not believe the movie will have any impact on Japan’s attempts to amend its own constitution, or on the views of the majority of WWII vets who are still with us.

    1. Reasons they should change it. North Korea, North Korea, North Korea. And, of course, China.

  9. F-O-G Horn, L-E-G Horn, Son!

    Every Communist must grasp the truth; “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

    Mao Tse Tung Nov. 1938

  10. One of my favorite cartoon characters. A caricature for so many politicians.

  11. Paul, Japan is on the Pacific Ring of Fire, it’s one big fault.

    1. Nick – As Foghorn Leghorn used to say “It’s a joke, son. It’s a joke!”

  12. The way the Japanese handle nuclear power they damn well not be trusted w/ nuclear weapons.

    1. As long as they don’t build they missile silos on earthquake faults, they should be okay.

  13. The Koreans got to experience Japanese civilization from 1905 to 1945; that did not make them appreciate a dominant Japan.

    To paraphrase Churchill (about Germany): “The Japanese are either at your feet or at your throat.”

  14. There are still some WW2 vets who fought in the Pacific who vehemently disagree w/ Japan disarming. The great book Unbroken is coming out as a movie this summer or fall. That won’t help Japan’s plea.

  15. I back their attempt to rearm. Have no problem with it. Should have been done long ago. We have a lot of weapons we can sell them to get them started.

  16. As the U.S. goes down Japan is going to have to glow in the dark on their own: The US is on the brink of losing its status as the world’s largest economy, and is likely to slip behind China this year, sooner than widely anticipated, according to the world’s leading statistical agencies.

    The US has been the global leader since overtaking the UK in 1872. Most economists previously thought China would pull ahead in 2019. (Economic War Of The Pacific – 3).

  17. One imagines that oriental countries – China, Japan, Korea, have much more in common with each other culturally than they have in common with the West. Should the world, at some point in the future, have a one-world-government dominated by the West, one would think they might want to build an alliance to preserve aspects of Oriental culture.

  18. Interesting topic Darren. I have no problem with Japan being ale to defend itself. What the proposed changes say will be crucial to how such moves are perceived in the region.

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