Questions and answers on Japan's pacifist constitution

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  • 2

    Yubaru

    Amending any country's constitution should be difficult. That document is the basis for what makes Japan the country it is today and to change it should not be easy for any one politician or leader to accomplish.

    It should be a mandate from the people and not just from the possibly mis-guided ideas or inbred desires of one person.

    IMHO before Abe takes this step he should put it to a national referendum and give the Japanese voters the opportunity to voice their opinions on the matter prior to even attempting to change the article that would lower the bar for constitutional change.

  • 2

    OssanAmerica

    Yubaru, no problem. China is not going to stop trying to take the Senkakus through physical presence.. And North Korea is not going to stop their nuclear weapon test. Abe has nothing to do whatsoever with these two concerns.

  • 2

    Kabukilover

    The questions that were no asked.

    What has Article 9 done for Japan?

    1. Has kept kept Japan out of wars: The Korean War and the ill-fated Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraqi wars.

    2. By keeping Japan out of wars, it has allowed its civilian economy to prosper. It has also not made Japan a prime target of international terrorists.

    3. It has made Japan admired in the world for staying out of wars.

    What will happen if Article 9 is destroyed?

    1. A win for Japanese ultranationalism.

    2. The rebirth of Japanese nationalist militarism.

    3. Less money for social welfare programs and more money for warfare programs.

    4. US will be involved in current future futile American wars.

    5. Increased tension in the Asia Pacific region.

    6. Militarist-rightist threat to Japanese democracy.

    7. The danger of local armed conflict.

    Stop Abe and the LDP from wrecking the Peace Constitution.

  • -1

    toguro

    @Kabukilover:

    "2.By keeping Japan out of wars, it has allowed its civilian economy to prosper. It has also not made Japan a prime target of international terrorists."

    Allowing the civilian economy to prosper by falling from #2 to #3 behind China? Japan may not have been a prime target of international terrorists, but it is still dealing with an abduction issue with North Korea, is it not?

    "3.It has made Japan admired in the world for staying out of wars. "

    Admired by whom?

  • 2

    Scrote

    Abe should explain how changing the constitution will improve the lives of the Japanese people. It's clear that he wants to bring in some sort of enabling law allowing him to change the constitution at will. I wouldn't be surprised if the requirement for a referendum was dropped as one of the first changes. After all, the politicians think they know best, so why bother asking the people what they think?

    Ironically, Abe was elected under an electoral system that has been deemed unconstitutional.

  • 0

    LiveInTokyo

    In many countries it is difficult to changes a constitution. I think that is great, it should be difficult to change. Once you start lowering the requirements to change a constitution, it opens a whole new Pandora's box. I honestly think Japan should never had that clause to renounce the use of war in its own constitution, but it was put in. Now, if that clause is ever taken out, Japan will be the laughing stock of the whole world.

  • 0

    tokyo-star

    Allowing the civilian economy to prosper by falling from #2 to #3 behind China?

    Toguro, not a bad effort for a country that was lying in smoldering ruins 70 years ago. And given China's size, this was inevitable, even though Japan on the whole still has higher average standard of living than the Chinese average - which includes peasants and farmers in rural areas of China, not just Shanghai.

  • 1

    crate

    Changes to Article 9 (the prohibition of war) are just a small part of the LDP's plans. There are some details of the proposed amendments at the English language wikipedia entry regarding the Constitution of Japan. Take the time to read it, it is important. Link and a few quotes are below. I posted this on yesterday's thread, too. Sorry for repeating myself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Japan#Amendment_Drafts_by_the_LDP

    Human Rights: The LDP draft revises many of the human right provisions currently adopted in the Constitution. "Human rights should have ground on the State's history, culture and tradition" and "Several of the current constitutional provisions are based on the Western-European theory of natural human rights; such provisions therefore require to be changed."

    Freedom of assembly, association, speech and all other forms of expression: The LDP draft adds a new paragraph on Article 21, which enables the State to prohibit the people from performing expressions "for the purpose of interfering public interest and public order".

    Freedom from torture and cruel punishments: Under the current Constitution, torture and cruel punishments are "absolutely forbidden", but the LDP draft deletes the word "absolutely" (Article 36).

    Obligations of the People: The people must respect the national anthem and flag (Article 3).

  • 1

    Nessie

    Thanks, Crate. These specifics are more alarming than anything about Article 9.

  • 0

    Kabukilover

    The LDP has got to go. Absolutely. They want to turn Japan into a totalitarian one-party state. The one party being the LDP, neither Liberal or Democratic. When they decide to take on China I want to be out of here.

  • 3

    Randy Thompson

    @toguro I'm an American, Japan is admired by our citizens that know you for your pacifism and society of peace. If you want to know what Japan would look like if it expands its war making abilities, look at the USA. What contributes to our mass shootings, gun murder rate is this war economy and culture of violence we have.

    Your economy may be number three today, but your unemployment rate is about 4.5%. And no country stays number one economically forever, but you do have a society that functions very well.

    In other words, Japan sets the standard for peace loving countries - don't join the warmongers and war profiteers, for I can tell you in the end your whole society will suffer.

  • 1

    Fadamor

    Abe may want to change the Constitution, but until at least 2/3 of the Japanese legislature and over half of the Japanese voting population agree with him, it's not happening.

  • 0

    Sperry

    The American Constitution requires a 2/3 yes vote from BOTH the Senate and the Legislature, then ratification by a yes vote of the Legislatures (in most cases both a State House AND a State Senate) from 3/4 (38) of the States.

    When it comes to the Constitution, a simple majority just doesn't cut it anywhere along the line.

  • -2

    chucky3176

    Are you sure it will not happen? All it will take is one major conflict with China, and the Japanese people will go along like sheep and do what they're told by their government. They always do.

    Abe may want to change the Constitution, but until at least 2/3 of the Japanese legislature and over half of the Japanese voting population agree with him, it's not happening.

  • 1

    José Simón Álvarez-Benavides

    I am not a jurist so it would be very difficult for me to engage in any disquisitions to do with the legal pros and cons around the amendment of the Japanese constitution. Having said that, it would appear to me that when the Japanese law of laws of 1947 was passed the world was a very different place from today's. The people who drafted Japan's constitution seem to have been very worried about Japan engaging in further bellicose activity in the future. Now, I believe that most of us would agree that Japan as a nation does not have the nationalistic never mind imperialistic mentality that led to its demise as a result of its intervention in the Second World War which culminated with the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima-- granted it is possible that there may be minority groups with such feelings but they do not represent the immense majority. In my humble opinion, Japan as a nation, has got the right to defend the integrity of its territory and its people like any other country does. Ultimately, it is up to the Japanese people and its democratically elected leaders to change the course of its own history based on what they conclude would be most beneficial for the whole nation now and in years to come.

  • -1

    crate

    Abe may want to change the Constitution, but until at least 2/3 of the Japanese legislature and over half of the Japanese voting population agree with him, it's not happening.

    @Fadamor The LDP know that. Which is why they want to first change Article 96 of the constitution which specifies these restrictions. They want Article 96 to require a simple parliamentary majority and a referendum. First they remove the safeguards, then they ram through the changes they want.

  • 0

    sveinnyves

    I believe in letting japanese do whatever they want with their country. Let they write their own constitution by their own people, its their right.

  • -1

    Fugacis

    Thanks, crate, for drawing attention to these extra attempts to alter the constitution. Abe is attempting more than just rearmament; he is doing his best to turn the clock right back to the prewar Showa state. Completely eroded human rights, no political freedom, and enforced veneration of the state and emperor. In other words, exactly the mindset that led to war in the first place. It'll really start to bite with the first rounds of mass arrests of political undesirables.

    Japanese should be just as scared of this bunch of protofascists as any of Japan's neighbours.

  • 1

    Xeno23

    As Crate has pointed out, it's the other issues that are more alarming than Article 9. They sound an awful lot like loopholes for governmental carte blanche. I have a few general questions though: it seems to me the Japanese voting public is pretty apathetic and uninterested - is this true? If so, mightn't reliance on the citizenry to stem government shenanigans be a risky proposition? And is there enough opposition strength in the Diet to counter sketchy proposals?

    It's one thing to talk about expanding the SDF, but can it really be done? Who would join? You actually need people in an army... As I understand it, the SDF isn't a very attractive career option in Japan. In the USA, the military is a reasonably attractive career; hence their success with an all volunteer force. You can throw all the money at a party you want, but if nobody shows up, you got no party...

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