Loosen the pacifist bond in the Constitution? Japanese divided

TOKYO – The Japanese continue to be deeply divided on the hypothesis of a reform, albeit minimal, of the fundamental Article 9 of the Constitution, which provides for a total repudiation of war and the renunciation of owning armed forces. This was revealed by a poll released by the Kyodo news agency.

The survey asked, in particular, to pronounce on an amendment to the Constitution that provides for a clarification of the role of the self-defense forces, the de facto Japanese armed forces, which however operate with a series of regulatory constraints which severely limit their military capacity. .

The Japanese Constitution was drafted on input from the Allied Occupation Forces immediately after the end of World War II and, in particular, from Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in the Pacific (SCAP) General Douglas MacArthur. Article 9 is so qualifying that it is often referred to as the Peace Constitution.

The Liberal Democratic Party, in power almost continuously since 1952, and some other conservative parties have always had the goal of reforming this article. The increased global and regional instability, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the increased Chinese political assertiveness, offers them an opportunity to proceed on a reform that, in addition to parliamentary approval, would require a referendum confirmation.

According to the Kyodo survey, 50 percent of the sample considers it necessary to review Article 9 by clarifying the status of the Self-Defense Forces, which were formed – again on input from the United States – in the face of the Korean War (1950-53) .

The difference with those who are against any revision, however, is minimal, because these are 48 percent. Moreover, the figure for those in favor is down compared to a similar survey conducted a year ago, when 51 percent were in favor and 45 percent were against. This despite the outbreak of the Ukrainian war, the uncertainties regarding the risk of China invading Taiwan and the new North Korean missile tests.

The survey was carried out between 1 March and 11 April via email and involved a sample of 3 thousand people over 18 years old. 65.3 percent answered the questions.

The leader of the pro-revision front is former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who several times during his mandates – between 2012 and 2020 – stated that Article 9 should be amended by inserting paragraphs to define the legal status of the Forces. of self-defense, which at the moment live in a kind of constitutional limbo. However, his government only managed to broaden the scope of these military forces, inserting the principle of collective defense with the American ally, but not touching the letter of the Constitution.

Fumio Kishida, the current prime minister, recently told television that amending the key charter, including Article 9, is a task Japan must undertake in addressing the changing international security situation. However, 70 per cent of the people who responded to the survey said that the present moment should not push for reform of the Constitution.

The constitutional revision procedure is quite complex, as evidenced by the fact that the document has remained substantially unchanged since it entered into force in 1947. Each amendment must be approved by a two-thirds majority in each of the two branches of the Diet, the parliament. Japanese, and then subjected to scrutiny by citizens with a national referendum.

Source: RSS DiariodelWeb.it Esteri by www.diariodelweb.it.

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