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Tokyo protesters say no to amending constitution

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By Elaine Kurtenbach

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,,,200% National debt.....Decliing birthrate...public schools over 50 years old...school bullying.....Corruption .....fewer permanent jobs..suicides at 30,000 per year.....Solve these issues first---If you can accomplish that, then we can discuss your prioritizing your war bird dreams....

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Dog May. 04, 2013 - 09:29AM JSTIt may come as news to you, but not to many others, Japan, since Ryutaro Hashimoto, has been paying all of it's defence costs and why the hell does Japan need to spend 10% of it's GDP on defence? Japan's not aiming to bomb muslim countries into the stoneage, it's just aiming to defend Japan.

You are not reading it clearly. Nobody saids Japan need to spend 10% of it's GDP on defense if U.S. withdrew. This is impossible. I said it will increase 10 percent annually from the current budget of $50 billion a year, which amounts to around $5 billion a year to upgrade their equipment for many years.

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Yubaru-san I read Japanese Constitution on Wikipedia's both English and Japanese version. I found English version detailed full history of constitution change. Also, It has details of Abe's plan to change constitution. Domo Arigatou Ybarui-san.

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Orogonal xonstitution was written in 1886/ Revised constitutionuse same kanjis.

Toshiko, thank you for replying, the "new" constitution has quite a few other changes that were not included in the original constitution, including equal rights for women.

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Thank you, Yubaru-san. I will begin to read English version of Wikipedia. Thank you again. I was in first year of a girls; middle school in 1945. Too old to write here?

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Orogonal xonstitution was written in 1886/ Revised constitutionuse same kanjis.

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Japanese xonstitution was written by in Meiji era. Only Article 9 was written in 1947.

Toshiko the first constitution was written in the Meiji Era, after WWII it was changed, first it was rewritten by Japanese authors but MacArthur rejected it and was redone

There were other changes as well including equal rights for women, which was not in the original document from the Meiji era. I Postwar Constitution" ( 戦後憲法 Sengo-Kenpō) or the "Peace Constitution" ( 平和憲法 Heiwa-Kenpō)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Japan English

The constitution used today was officially adopted on 3 May 1947, hence May 3rd as being "Constitution Day" a national holiday in Japan. Toshiko, if you as a Japanese person are unaware of this factual history I wonder how many other Japanese people don't know about their own constitution and how that plays into the current discussion about making changes to it.

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Japanese xonstitution was written by in Meiji era. Only Article 9 was written in 1947. Original does not have modern Japanese language. Meiji Ishin was more than 100 years ago. After, Meiji, Taishou, then Shouwa. In 1947, _Prime Minister at that time proposed it in Japanese Language and Gen, MacArther etc accepted it. Read Japanese Constitution and compare with current Japanese language you use. It is not as old like Tokugawa era or old old time Japanese languag]]e. A lot of kanjis are used.

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He has to brush old Japanese language (more than 100 years ago) before thinking about other items in entire constitution

Why? The constitution was written in 1946 or 47?

SDF can protect Japanese corporation with SDF?

This is the last thing I believe anyone wants. The SDF is there for the country, not business interests.

Maybe Japan might be able to help their war torn countries.

It already has been in cooperation with the UN peace keeping missions.

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Isn't Abe too busy to visit foreign countries now? Article 9 was his talks before he left Japan. Weapons are different. When N, Korea threatens Japan, Drone can be used to spy activities of N. Korean military movement. Article 9 is created in 1947, Mr.Kijuro Shidehara I believe, was PM then, and he suggested Article 9 so that it was written in Japanese language. Maybe my memory could be wrong. I don't think Abe has time to check all constitution contents. He has to brush old Japanese language (more than 100 years ago) before thinking about other items in entire constitution. Arabic and S.E. Asian countries are eager to get Japanese help on their technological advancement. No countries think about USA. Maybe Japan might be able to help their war torn countries. SDF can protect Japanese corporation with SDF? Just my stupid thought.

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In this sense, it is not really necessary to change the Constitution, but since the prevailing interpretation is on for so many years, there is too much drag in changing it and that's why I agree to changing Article 9. But only Article 9.

You don't get it do you? It isn't just about defense, it also means coming to the defense of others, which in the current constitution is not allowed, because it would be taken as being "offensive" in nature.

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Actually, having already accepted that self-defense is permissible within the current Constitution, it is possible to include collective self-defence.

In fact, it is funny how LITTLE the current Constitution Article 9 can mean once you allow for defensive force. It doesn't allow for "belligerency rights (交戦権)", but it is interpreted to not interfere with "self-defensive rights (自衛権)". So once a situation that vaguely allows for self-defense occurs, it is possible to execute most of the powers of the former under the name of the latter. Only if there is absolutely not the slightest provocation would it be a problem.

It doesn't even actually say that you can only self-defend. It actually says you cannot resolve disputes using force. It effectively means "Japan is not allowed to win a war." But it can execute a war including bombing offensives as long as it isn't to the level that the other guy must surrender (for example, you can bomb his tank factory but not his farms leading to mass starvation) Then if someone else comes to help win it or the other guy drops out "voluntarily" ... well, we can't help THAT, can we?

In this sense, it is not really necessary to change the Constitution, but since the prevailing interpretation is on for so many years, there is too much drag in changing it and that's why I agree to changing Article 9. But only Article 9.

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Japan should never again be able to threaten our neighboring countries. Article 9 should stay in place and not be rewritten.

Article 9 was included in the current constitution at the suggestion of a Japanese person and was for a different era in Japanese history. It served it's purpose then, but the Japan of today is not the same Japan that threatened it's neighbors throughout Asia.

Even the US would love to see Japan amend this Article and take a more equal partnership in it's defense.

Japan under the current constitution could not come to the aid of an ally, like this US in case any hostilities broke out.

Let me put it in laymen's terms so you'll understand it better; Imagine a friend of yours being attacked by someone and you and your friends just had to stand around and watch because there was nothing you could do to stop it.

You could have easily come to their aid, and wanted to help them, and had the ability to stop your friend's attacker, and assist your friend, but you didn't. You just stood by and let your friend die. Why? Because "legally" there was nothing you could do.

That is the situation Japan is in today, and if I was your friend and something happened and you did nothing to assist me, I doubt that we would be trusted friends for too much longer.

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zichiMay. 05, 2013 - 10:14AM JST

I guess you've never been to Japan? I have lived here these last 20 years and I can tell you the numbers of nationalists are so small, they are a joke.

Well you must be living in a different Japan from me because the Japan I have lived in for the last 20 years has largely, the exception being DPJ years, been controlled, 'lock stock and barrel', by the nationalists.

I don't know if you've picked up a paper recently, but the PM is definitely one of those nationalists and I'd say the 165 members of the ruling party, including the deputy PM, who visited Yasukuni just weeks ago would also fall under the definition of nationalists.

And please don't tell me Yasukuni is just a memorial to those Japanese who gave their lives for their country. If that were so, they'd bulldoze down the museum that accompanies it and place that suicide sub, which is perched at its entrance, into the darkest depths of the Sumida.

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@zichi

Zichi,

Time is money, lots of money in America, if you expect me to waste time for multiple deletions because of off topic remarks, you cannot even afford to pay me for my precious time! Just a hint, I am not your ordinary 9-5 guy or 50 cents per post guy.

What bad policies are you referring to? Wherever I make my comments like yen devaluation, Constitution change nationalism linkage, Sea Shepherd, Senkaku/Diaoyu etc!

One thing you must realise the Japanese bureaucrats seems to be running Japan even against the Emperor's will, even against the ordinary citizen's will. Am I off the mark? That is how WWII happen right? The bureaucrats are running Japan! It is these groups of people we should be fearful about, NOT the ordinary Japanese people. In particular LDP, yes, LDP running Japan almost all of post WWII, let's hope they don't get too desperate when Abe's last economic card don't panned out and he start to look for diversions.

I am not interested in what goes on inside Japan, only when it affects international events and economics I make my voice loud and clear. It affects me too, so don't expect me to just sit on my hands.

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Tony EW

The fear is Japan falling into nationalists, facists whatever you call it administration and a desperate Japan with bad economy may do unpredictable things like pre WWII

I guess you've never been to Japan? I have lived here these last 20 years and I can tell you the numbers of nationalists are so small, they are a joke. All countries, including China, Korea, America, Britain, all have their varieties of them.

The economic situation is much better than many of the EU countries and maybe even better than American. The majority of Japanese don't support those extreme nationalists and its highly unlikely that at any time in the near or middle future they would gain any major political ground in this peace loving nation, peace which has been maintained for more than 60 years.

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TonyEW,

Leave it to the FBI/CIA/NSA ! Leave what?

I have no more time to waste with endless posts and risking deletions. Don't second guess what the Govt knows. If I am a China psy-op guy somebody would have being knocking on my door already!

Why are deletion a a risk, less posts less money? I don't think any agency would be knocking at your door. In China yes, but never in a free speech democracy.

The truth is my brash style is a shock to a calm Japan not used to in your face talk which as you know is very American, no holds barred.

I'm not Japanese, I'm a Brit and can take whatever you want to throw my way.

Japanese people I know in the States probably same in Japan, too unwilling to talk raw stuff, always way too polite, but get me a redneck here there will talk like me!

So you are just another redneck with a loud mouth.

I am not anti Japanese, only bad policies ticked me off. I only meet ONE bad Japanese in my life. All else very good to me.

What bad policies are you referring to?

Your Japan argument at peace over last 60 years only because of US watchful eyes and Security Treaty, boy you buy that fake peace when Japan is inherently a very aggressive nation.

While that's partly true, the Japanese people have no stomach for aggression or warmongering.

Check out her history and recent military moves, way out of proportion. This is the basis for my concern, not Japan bashing for fun!

Like I've already said, you are locked into a pre 1945 era and don't seem able to move on. What recently military moves are you preferring to because there is no military of any description in Japan, just Self Defense Forces whose members are all civil servants.

You never seem to mention any of the aggression made by China, why's that.

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@zichi

Somehow, in your very foolish thinking, Japan not only wants to build atomic weapons but actually use them against China is nothing more than your pitiful propaganda.

Get a hold of yourself. I did not say Japan think of using nukes against China. N Korea perhaps, but definitely not China. I did say Japan when she succeed in changing the Constitution could use the nuclear blackmail card, just like N Korea, not actually using it for that would be MAD. The fear is Japan falling into nationalists, facists whatever you call it administration and a desperate Japan with bad economy may do unpredictable things like pre WWII. There is a precedent. Bad economy causes diversion, brazen acts to steal. Dunno why you don't see the trend can be extrapolated or at least caution should be in one's mind instead of being so relaxed about it!

There is no propaganda here, doesn't matter I am Chinese American, I speak my mind , no political considerations. Of course I cannot stop other's minds from wandering off into the deep end and make erroneous conclusions!

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@zichi

Leave it to the FBI/CIA/NSA ! I have no more time to waste with endless posts and risking deletions. Don't second guess what the Govt knows. If I am a China psy-op guy somebody would have being knocking on my door already! The truth is my brash style is a shock to a calm Japan not used to in your face talk which as you know is very American, no holds barred. Japanese people I know in the States probably same in Japan, too unwilling to talk raw stuff, always way too polite, but get me a redneck here there will talk like me!

I am not anti Japanese, only bad policies ticked me off. I only meet ONE bad Japanese in my life. All else very good to me.

Your Japan argument at peace over last 60 years only because of US watchful eyes and Security Treaty, boy you buy that fake peace when Japan is inherently a very aggressive nation. Check out her history and recent military moves, way out of proportion. This is the basis for my concern, not Japan bashing for fun!

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TonyEW, I don't know why for the past couple of months you have been posting on this Japanese forum, since you don't live here, and according to you, you don't live in China but instead live in America which ensures all the personal freedoms you now enjoy and would continue to enjoy even if you moved to Japan, but you would never have any of those freedoms if you lived in China.

At every mouthful, you attack Japan and refuse to drag yourself out of an era long gone but you never even mention any of the million wrong doings that happen in China every single day.

I would find it very hard not to believe that you are not a paid psy-op for the communist Chinese gov't? Its well known to they have thousands of them on the Internet and in addition the China based hackers which America recently located to a military building there.

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@TonyEW

Otherwise people forgot the main reason for changing the Consititution is to become a nuclear armed Japan with potentially devastating consequences for the neighborhood

You have presented no evidence for that, just your own make believe. Unlike you, I actually live in Japan, and have done so for 20 years. I see no evidence that the reason a change to the constitution would mean its only because its leaders want to build atomic weapons, which like I have already stated, China has, and Russia for that matter too. North Korea is developing its atomic weapons..

Somehow, in your very foolish thinking, Japan not only wants to build atomic weapons but actually use them against China is nothing more than your pitiful propaganda.

Like I've already stated, and you totally fail to gasp, Japan has been at peace with all countries for more than 60 years, but that's an historically reality you won't accept because it would neutralize your need for your non stop one sided propaganda on this forum.

Atomic weapons remains a very sensitive issue with the Japanese people because in case you're also forgot to accept, it has been the only nation to have them dropped on it.

China has no interest in starting any war, which it would not only lose but also destroy everything it has been building. I think you are the kind which would like to see a war, which would involve your own country, America. Why would you want that?

There are 1.5 million Chinese and Koreans living in Japan, and none of them would go back to those countries even if offered free passage. Most of my Chinese friends hate the Chinese communist system and would never live under a system which would mean giving up all the freedoms which they now enjoy.

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@yabits @zichi

Anti-Japan sentiment from the outside -- people who express views the way you do -- will prove to be those militarists best allies.

It's a knife that cut both ways I understand very well. But the risk is worth it by laying all the scenarios on the table for all to see. Otherwise people forgot the main reason for changing the Consititution is to become a nuclear armed Japan with potentially devastating consequences for the neighborhood.

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I wish Japan well as the people debate this extremely important issue. I hope that they choose to keep the bar very high for constitutional amendments. The right to freedom of speech and press is something that is critical to the success of a free nation. Without it, all liberty is doomed. I also wish Abe well in his attempt to restore Japan's economic growth. The whole world is a much better place with a confident and powerful Japan.

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That is ONLY because of US putting Japan on a SHORT leash. Let her on her own device, Japan is a very aggressive nasty country,

Tony Ew, you are not portraying reality here, only your jaundiced view of it. A very large segment of the Japanese population, the ones in the story actively protesting any change to the constitution are not doing so because they are being influenced by the United States. Quite the opposite.

Far more than most societies, and from what I have seen, more than China, Japanese society has shown the ability to reflect on its actions and choose a different course than one of violence. Unfortunately, there is still a segment of the population which longs for an assertive, even aggressive Japan. Anti-Japan sentiment from the outside -- people who express views the way you do -- will prove to be those militarists best allies.

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@Tony EW, Unlike the one party communist state in China with its very restrictive personal freedoms, Japan is a democracy with fair and free elections. There'll be no changes to the constitution unless the people want it. China is a nuclear weapons state and is also rapidly expanding its military forces.

There'll be no return in Japan to those dark days of the Imperial Militarism, the people have no desires or stomach for it. Even though Japan has the knowledge and means to build atomic weapons, I doubt it will happen any time soon, but if China continues with its military expansion, and aggressive behavior towards the nations in south east Asia, the attitude of the Japanese people could change.

And let's not forget that although the Japanese Imperial Military killed millions of Chinese in WW2, maybe 6 million by some accounts, the greatest number of Chinese in its entire history were killed by Chairman Mao with estimates in the range of 50-75 million. The Chinese have more to fear from their own communist party state than they do from the Japanese.

You need to accept the fact that WWII has been over for many decades and Japan has been at peace for more than 60 years. A track record not equalled by China.

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@zichiMay. 05, 2013 - 01:01AM JST

While I might be concerned about some of the proposed changes it not the business of China or its supporters to decide how this country is run. The Japanese will decide what ammendments it wants, not China.

Japan can be feudal, fascist, communist, stone age, whatever nobody cares. The only time it matters to outsiders is when the military aspect is changed to become more aggressive. You can call it defensive, but why should the world believe Japan given two World Wars of extreme cruelty? Isn't US Security Treaty good enough? Here we have Japan, US, China, Russia etc calling for N Korea to disarm, no nukes. When Abe succeed in changing the Constitution you can bet your bank that his first priority is to nuclearize Japan's military. What then? Other countries shouldn't be concerned?

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I am against changing it as the change is the road to Imperial Japan. I really do not want Japan to have the mindset of striking first without warning. In all of Japans history a declaration of war before the attack is not among them. I really want to see peace and while I think we could give a good fight do not want to see it happen. I do not see a war with Russia. However an accidental war with mainland China is very possible. All it would do is a mistake happen by either side.

Japan should never again be able to threaten our neighboring countries. Article 9 should stay in place and not be rewritten.

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While I might be concerned about some of the proposed changes it not the business of China or its supporters to decide how this country is run. The Japanese will decide what ammendments it wants, not China.

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@Open MindedMay. 04, 2013 - 11:42PM JST

Tony Ew: my comment re 99% of the wars is referring to world wide facts. My point is that I do not see the need for Japan to waste money in a big army, not that I am scary Japan would become a belligerent soon again.

I concede that the probability is much less than pre WWII esp now people are more informed and able to think for themselves. Just make sure they don't elect a nationalist over there who are good at telling stories to justify land grab elsewhere, we never know. Now with MAD it is much less likely though, but still they could use nuke as an intimidating force.

Seriously Japanese should ask themselves what good comes out of this revised Constitution when US is ready to defend Japan, recent example B2 flight over Korea to give warning to N Korea. No need for more Japanese remilitarising.

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Japan pay multi billion dollars to let USA keep its bases in Okinawa, etc. That money is main purpose of USA not to withdraw from Japanese soil. Protecting Japan from China? USA owes too much money to China. Maybe gypping China is more likely purpose to keep US bases in Japan. There was a time when Japanese people celebrated no more war in constitution. Constitution change is not easy in any country that has constitution.

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This is a broad term here. Every Democracy uses leverage to avoid political stalemates over certain Bills, but to claim that it impedes Civil Rights is clearly wrong

Clearly wrong? Pray tell then when one of Abe's goals is to change the constitution with regards to freedom of speech laws currently protected under the constitution here now, is not against civil rights?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Kazuaki: from an old-fashion strategy standpoint you are most likely right. But does China really need a barrier? Could it be east, south or west?

Again, and apart for energy control or maybe food, any big war involving mega power countries will be intelligence and/or IT viral stuff. Amending the J-constitution will not change anything about that.

Just IMHO.

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talexa05

Restricting speech is the least thing this cabinet wants.

Wow, you have a lot of blind faith in the Abe government - "restricting speech is the least thing this cabinet wants"?

Not that I'm only poking at Abe. The truth is, if our powers-that-be have their way entirely, we won't have free speech. It is too inconvenient.

That's why we don't allow governments a legal opening to do so.

Potentially under threat? Where's the basis for this assumption?

"Potentially under threat" is about right. When you change wording from something protective to something less protective, it is reasonable to assume that you are reducing the protection for a reason.

Granting Mr. Abe's government the power to realign the constitution to a more progressive one is obviously the best choice for this country.

Can you name any specific points in the new proposal, other than specifically allowing a military (which IMO is a good idea but is generally not called progressive) and putting in a specific mention of equality for disabled people (a progressive point but not enough to compensate for everything else), that are progressive?

Can you actually name laws that would "benefit society as a whole" that can't be done in the present Constitution?

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@Open Minded

I am not saying Japan is a worthless country, but it has no intrinsic value for an invader IMHO. Has it been ever colonized/invaded in the past 4,000 years? Except the post WWII control, never ever. Why should it be different now and in the future?

You are probably right that Japan proper is an unattractive target for invasion. From a power projection standpoint looking from China outwards, however, Japan's southern parts do form a barrier on China's eastern side. If it is under enemy control, it inevitably surrounds China, while if China holds them they can be a nice forward base and barrier.

Thus, everything from Kyushu southwards in theory is a valid target for attack if the "price" is right.

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Tony Ew: my comment re 99% of the wars is referring to world wide facts. My point is that I do not see the need for Japan to waste money in a big army, not that I am scary Japan would become a belligerent soon again.

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@Open MindedMay. 04, 2013 - 10:25PM JST

99% of the last 100 years big wars were with the aim to get or control primary resources and mainly gas or oil. Can someone explain me why China or anyone else would invade Japan. No resources, aging population, ...)

I am not saying Japan is a worthless country, but it has no intrinsic value for an invader IMHO. Has it been ever colonized/invaded in the past 4,000 years? Except the post WWII control, never ever. Why should it be different now and in the future?

You nail it on the head sir! Japan is a very aggressive country given the last century of WWI & WWII experiences. Abe attempt to change the Constitution to remilitarise, to build nukes is downright scary! The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should spearhead effort to make sure his grand plan to rewrite the Constitution fails. If not, as I said, fellow Asians should be worried, not just China & Koreas. Worse, an unstable N Korea may strike Japan first given the arrogant attitude of the Abe government.

US may just be tired of defending Japan once the Constitution is rewritten. There is a hidden US agenda in Japan besides the Security Treaty ie to make sure Japan does not rearm and get nukes. But once the gate is open with a Constitutional rewrite, this defeats US purpose and it is time to pack up and go home!

So frankly I think it will be a disaster for Japan and the world if she is allowed to get nukes, esp when the economy sour and the leadership look for ways to improve their country's well being, even through military adventurism. Nobody can ever trust a desperate Japan.

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99% of the last 100 years big wars were with the aim to get or control primary resources and mainly gas or oil. Can someone explain me why China or anyone else would invade Japan. No resources, aging population, ...)

I am not saying Japan is a worthless country, but it has no intrinsic value for an invader IMHO. Has it been ever colonized/invaded in the past 4,000 years? Except the post WWII control, never ever. Why should it be different now and in the future?

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It's about time Japan has to change their constitution made by the Americans. Japan had learned and I am sure going to war is not their agenda now. Japan invasion of China and Korea then was just initiated by one of their war freak emperor during that era. Give back Japan the right to fight back when attack. Stop relying on USA military force. It's plain business for USA. ;)

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Remilitarising is a big part of Abe's plan to change the Constitution. Remilitarising Japan definitely includes arming Japan with nuclear weapons given the immense stock of plutonium in Japan. Japan have to weigh whether N Korea or China may attack first before she get a hold of the nukes. Japan already have worked on the launch delivery vehicle in the form of the Epsilon Launch Vehicle, thus going nuclear is a very quick possibility.

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@Yubari<< [ If he is successful with that then he will go for all the other proposed changes including the one regarding making Japan's SDF into a formal military, and other amendments that would impede civil rights.}

Again, another ambiguous term with the words "Civil Rights." This is a broad term here. Every Democracy uses leverage to avoid political stalemates over certain Bills, but to claim that it impedes Civil Rights is clearly wrong. This power to leverage the government to pass Bills is reserved for the head of State, in this case Mr. Abe. Same for when Obama Care was pushed through our government. This doesn't mean the constitution is easy to change.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think any and all changes to the constitution of Japan should be voted upon by the citizens of Japan and should not be left to the house vote

Did you happen to read my initial post here on this topic? Basically speaking amending the constitution is a three step process, currently it takes a 2/3'rds majority first in the lower house, then a 2/3'rds majority in the upper house, and then a simple majority national referendum vote, which for this case would include any person eligible to vote who is 18 years of age or older.

Now voting age for elections is 20, but for this type of national referendum, it would include the aforementioned 18 year old and up group as well.

Abe's first goal is to get that 2/3'rds majority in both the upper and lower house of the Diet cut to a simple majority. Which is in and of itself a problem for many of the parties in parliament right now. Even the LDP's coalition partner, New Komeito, which typically votes as a block with the LDP are hesitant to change. Which means that Abe may have to go outside of his traditional base to get support, meaning DPJ and Ishihara's/Hashimoto's party support as well.

He is hoping that with the upper house elections in July that the LDP will control both houses and make it easier to pass this first amendment. If he is successful with that then he will go for all the other proposed changes including the one regarding making Japan's SDF into a formal military, and other amendments that would impede civil rights.

He probably isn't too concerned about wining a simple majority of the national vote because with the popularity he has right now he probably thinks he can get whatever he wants from the public, the lemmings will follow along.

Except protest like this may make his plans a bit more difficult to achieve.

As I have mentioned before and I still believe, the constitution should not be so easy of a thing to change. A simple majority in the Diet would make it too easy to change whenever the whim comes along and that imho is not right!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki<<< Sounds like a lot of word play to me. Potentially under threat? Where's the basis for this assumption? This all sounds like a knee-jerk reaction to "change." In order to put forth policies to enhance Japan and to create better implementation of laws that could benefit society as a whole has nothing to do with the threat of Freedom of Speech. Quite the opposite. Granting Mr. Abe's government the power to realign the constitution to a more progressive one is obviously the best choice for this country. Don't you think? Restricting speech is the least thing this cabinet wants.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki, good comment. I agree completely.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@talexa05

It's natural for any country to amend their constitution, or at least have dialog over it. Mr. Abe and quit a few Japanese feel that the time is now, especially with a majority of his Cabinet being conservative. The current day constitution was signed off on by the Emperor of Japan as part of a deal to end the occupation of Japan. It did not reflect the needs of lay Japanese. The current constitution contains over half the U.S. Bill of Rights in it, and although it looks like a good document on paper, it is hardly one that represents the culture dynamic of Japan. It's not like Japanese embrace the principles anyway.

I won't disagree that the current Constitution is not really a Japanese product. On the other hand, because its ring is wider than the typical Japanese will use, it doesn't really bother the Japanese people to keep it that way and they might just have use of the wider ring at some point.

I agree with this statement, and it's good to see Japanese taking action but I wonder how well informed they are about their own government.... Again, the civil liberties being under threat argument is too vague. Freedom of Speech? When was there ever censorship, aside from war days? Under Meiji Tenno such civil liberties were enjoyed too, not with just the present day constitution.

The problem is that Abe's proposal subtly changes so many parts of the Constitution that Civil Liberties as a whole is potentially under threat, not only one particular area like "Freedom of Speech". It is possible that nothing would really change and people will continue to enjoy their current liberties, but the new wording does open wider gaps for the government to restrict liberties while staying constitutional compared to the current document.

Civil liberties are not only to be "enjoyed" while the government is in the mood to tolerate it, they must be "guaranteed" even when it is most inconvenient for said government.

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@<<markandmiho2May. 04, 2013 - 01:42PM JST

The recent protests against revising the Japanese Constitution are a prime example of democracy. In a healthy democracy, the people are encouraged to voice their opinions and participate in the decision making process. Clearly, this demonstrates that Japan has a very healthy democracy.[end]

I agree with this statement, and it's good to see Japanese taking action but I wonder how well informed they are about their own government.... Again, the civil liberties being under threat argument is too vague. Freedom of Speech? When was there ever censorship, aside from war days? Under Meiji Tenno such civil liberties were enjoyed too, not with just the present day constitution.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's natural for any country to amend their constitution, or at least have dialog over it. Mr. Abe and quit a few Japanese feel that the time is now, especially with a majority of his Cabinet being conservative. The current day constitution was signed off on by the Emperor of Japan as part of a deal to end the occupation of Japan. It did not reflect the needs of lay Japanese. The current constitution contains over half the U.S. Bill of Rights in it, and although it looks like a good document on paper, it is hardly one that represents the culture dynamic of Japan. It's not like Japanese embrace the principles anyway.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

LMFAO, whatever you say jewawa.

The Art 9 revision is a must to stabilize the inconsistencies that it require Japan to protect itself and its allies against aggressors. It is unbelievably illogical enough to even declare it as obsolete, null and void is imperative to assure security and humanity in the asian region in a balanced state, safeguarded against ill witted lures that directly violates and abuses human rights in dismaying peculiarities. Just right enough to keep the balance, nothing more nothing less.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The recent protests against revising the Japanese Constitution are a prime example of democracy. In a healthy democracy, the people are encouraged to voice their opinions and participate in the decision making process. Clearly, this demonstrates that Japan has a very healthy democracy.

Thank you very much.

Respectfully Submitted: Mark Kazuo Bradley Honolulu, Hawaii.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

kinda funny this article in a land where a zoo animal have more rights and freedom than japanese working people!!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

SEast Asian countries, and Arabic countries, even Mexico are trying to get help on development of technological project from Japan. Japan does not have enemies now. Only China with territorial dispute, not business relationship. Not like USA that think it helps Islamic countries with its military presence there. American public scream that USA shouldn't behave World police. It is 21st century now. USA is operating like Japan was invading China and Korea. Following is my opinion. If Japan want to replace USA in world, try different than military country. Peace constitution will make other countries trust Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

At least the New Komeito Party has many reservations on Abe's plan! I hope they ditch the Jimins!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm in support of the upgrading of the Self-Defense Forces, but other changes of the constitution, I don't have much opinion about that.

My reason would be that while America does protect Japan from foreign Aggression. The USA power and influence is definitely waning. Their economy is slowly rising from years of recession as well. And while they protect Japan from aggressive states like China and North Korea, there are conflicting interests. China owns half of USA's foreign debt. This surely comes into serious consideration.

with USA in decline, Japan needs to take serious steps to boost it own defense capabilities. Upgrading the SDF is only the first step.

It would also give Japan more leeway from USA and international prestige if it can increase it miltiary capabilities.

from the looks of things, nations like Philipines, Vietnam and India, as well as other nations in conflict with China will be looking to Japan to restrain China's aggressive takeovers of their territories. some of them even voice their approval of Japan military upgrade.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I doubt very much communists and Socialists are powerful in Japan.. Marxism is dead now with Lenin and Stalin. Hooray for demonstrators.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm glad they're protesting, but I'm also willing to bet the majority of them who are of voting age voted in Abe and his party. In any case, he's already proven he is unwilling to listen to his constituents.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hackers has nothing to do with this demonstration. In USA, hackers proudly declare what they did on facebooks and get caught. Thir database is not huge. Just mega-bytes at most even, there are inexpensive mega G-bytes flush drives exists. some softweare developers crested anti-hacker software and co-operating with authorities in USA. Some say Chinese hackers and N. Korea hackers but I doubt very much. They never say Japanese hacjers. People in USA are used to freedom of speech and so they write anything on facebook. Even boston terrolists had comments on facebook. If software is created by assembly language, not easy to hack. Compiled .exe files are hacker proof, too. Just keep original software in external flush drive or memory cards and don't keep in your computer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tricky communistssneaking from behind.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

While everyone is already being tracked by privacy invading software . All moves are stored in huge data bases , web activity logged and stored for later . Why would the people care if the government becomes even more intrusive and powerful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Other smaller Asian countries who are easily RUN OVER by China are hoping for Japan to stand up as bigger and stronger against the New Bad boy in the Region (China ).

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Military spending have made USA almost bankrupting. China;s investment of USA bond is keeping USA going. Then now, Japan increased USA debts. Japan pay several million dollars to let US military stayA in Japan. That is why USA stays in Japan. Protecting Japan? Originally to keep eyes on Japan but now it is there to collect many billion dollars a year. USA tried to penalize Japanese automakers but clever automakers recall cars instead of punished. Southeast Asia, Middle east, etc seek to have ecomomic ties with Japan. No sense to militalize Japan right now. Japanese technology advanced while military wasting USA is about bankrupted. Abe went to other countries such as Russia and Saudi Arabia. He should keep such movement and forget to replace USA in the world. Yamaguchi-ken people might not support him next time/ He does not live there, anyway. Just my opinion.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I'm glad to see people having peaceful demonstrations to have their voices heard. It's the people who aren't involved in the democratic process on any side that we really have to worry about.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I mean all the Pacific nations, not only Asia lol...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't think that these people want to speak in Chinese language as first language since culture will be too different. It happened with Hong Kong, but people in Hong Kong speaks the same language and share the same history as in China. Chineses are increasing the pressure to take the Senkaku, Okinawa and maybe Kyushu sending their vessels and airplanes. If Japan loses, all the countries in Pacific will lose too. This problem can't be ignored and they don't care about Japan to keep the pacifism since they already write lies in their newspaper. If there is no solution by diplomacy, better for the country to join the militaries with the East Asian Pacific countries like New Zealand, US, Australia, Phillipines, etc and send a message to them that the country is not alone. Just change some items in the constitution to allow better protection.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Seems to be a bit of confusion about why the US military is in Japan. They are not here to protect Japan or to play 'big brother'. They US military was set up in Japan for two reasons. Firstly to make sure Japan would not start another war and secondly so the US could keep a large military force in Asia.

A change to article 9 would spell disaster for Japan and only enflame the already strained relations with its neighbours. It would also give the J-Gov the power to do whatever they like.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Glad to see Japanese people have peaceful demonstration now. Freedom of Speech that I never experienced when I was in Japan. Many decades ago. Are Japanese ladies involved now? I live in USA and read on papers about all sort of demonstrations in USA.. Many are violent in USA.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

sfjp330May. 04, 2013 - 08:44AM JST

I am all for that. Let Japan pay all of the defense cost. Let's say U.S. Military pulls out entirely from Japan. Could Japan afford to increase their military spending from present 1 percent to 2 percent of GDP? Or increase 10 percent a year for many decades to defend their own country?

It may come as news to you, but not to many others, Japan, since Ryutaro Hashimoto, has been paying all of it's defence costs and why the hell does Japan need to spend 10% of it's GDP on defence? Japan's not aiming to bomb muslim countries into the stoneage, it's just aiming to defend Japan.

Back to topic, I'm all for changing Article 9 of the constitution, afterall it is only aknowledging the reality of Japan in the 21st Century, but all of the other changes bundled with the constitional ammendments are very worrying.

However I think the Japanese are their own worst enemies and Abe and the LDP Right are going to get the changes they want, and Japan is going to start heading down the short path to the domestic Japan of the 1930's.

As a passing comment, I don't think the Japanese ever really took Western concepts of individual rights v state rights or power deriving from the people to their hearts. Circus (talentos) and Cake (stable employment) is all they really desire to delegate all authority to the Nagatcho/Kasumigaseki Bakufu.

The changes to the constitution will merely more accurately reflect the true Japan.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Although I can understand how it must hurt to have a constitution written by a former occupation force, it is really not a bad one. It had served this country well for many years and made it into a prosperous nation. Think about that. The idea of making it easier to amend the constitution will open a can of worms that will not be easily undone.

a proposal by the Liberal Democrats that calls for making civil liberties such as freedom of speech and expression subordinate to the public interest.

This.

How many actually know about this?

Surveys show mixed opinions among Japanese to revising the constitution, with some media organizations showing a majority in favor while others show the number of those who are undecided at nearly half, with the rest divided about evenly.

Ah...

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_and_legal_rights

0 ( +2 / -2 )

issa1 May. 04, 2013 - 08:35AM JST Japan should not rely on the U.S., because leave the key your house to his “supposed friend” is not a good idea because it can turn against you in the future.

I am all for that. Let Japan pay all of the defense cost. Let's say U.S. Military pulls out entirely from Japan. Could Japan afford to increase their military spending from present 1 percent to 2 percent of GDP? Or increase 10 percent a year for many decades to defend their own country?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiMAY. 04, 2013 - 08:00AM JST @issa1 I'm all for changing Article 9, but I'm afraid I'll have to turn down Abe's Constitution changing plan because of all the other luggage it has. Oh, I'm sure they'll say they weren't really lowering the protection, just shortening the language and making it more stylistically Japanese rather than a translation off the American-English, but when every change seems to subtly lower the protections, one really has to wonder.

Japan should not rely on the U.S., because leave the key your house to his “supposed friend” is not a good idea because it can turn against you in the future.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

It's funny that in Japan the more right-wing party is named the "Liberal Democratic" Party!!!

There are two 'democratic' countries around as well as one 'republic'. What's the deal? It's Asia!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's funny that in Japan the more right-wing party is named the "Liberal Democratic" Party!!! All the actual Liberal Democrats around the world must be ashamed or rolling in their graves.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

My concern is the language. Civil Liberties as in what? It would be nice if these groups clearly states for the record what they fear would be in jeopardy. Freedom of speech? This is exactly the kind of dialog that the country needs.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Here's a thought for the day, if Abe did get the constitution changed, the US would be then entitled to say OK now your on your own Japan , you don't don't need the US now, pull all military personal and equipment out of Japan. Think how much that would save the US tax payer and the Japanese taxpayers too. I wonder then under those circumstances would Japan be in so much of a rush to become militaristic.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I think any and all changes to the constitution of Japan should be voted upon by the citizens of Japan and should not be left to the house vote. Civil liberties shouldn't be sacrificed for the sake of boosting military and government power( people with find themselves living like the Chinese in no time)

If the decisions are eft up to the house to decide, once it's done if will be near impossible to get anything reversed or adjusted because of the constant flux of house members.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@issa1 I'm all for changing Article 9, but I'm afraid I'll have to turn down Abe's Constitution changing plan because of all the other luggage it has. Oh, I'm sure they'll say they weren't really lowering the protection, just shortening the language and making it more stylistically Japanese rather than a translation off the American-English, but when every change seems to subtly lower the protections, one really has to wonder.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Don't listen these idiots, they probably are funded by the Chinese and Korean government who does not want to Japanese sovereignty.

-35 ( +3 / -38 )

Good for them! The constitution can only be changed in the final step of the process that is, by a majority vote of the electorate, which would/will include any and all citizens 18 years of age or older.

More power to them! (It's also a message to Abe!)

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Go ahead, if Abe want to have its own military. But don't serve the American. Kick the American from Okinawa. Don't afraid being criticized by American for not having "American version of democracy".

-33 ( +4 / -37 )

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