politics

Constitutional watchdog hints it won't block Abe on military changes

48 Comments
By Kiyoshi Takenaka

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48 Comments
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Abe is the best prime minister Japan has ever had.

-22 ( +13 / -35 )

Interesting kiyoshiMukai...and you are making this assumption based on his first stint as PM plus his first half a year of a second , I assume. Maybe we should give him a bit more time before crowning him the "best PM " Japan ever had. So far he has been " the best " for maybe your average right leaning , stock broker type - certainly not for the vast majority of J-public. Time will tell.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Abe is the best prime minister Japan has ever had.

deteriorating relations with the neighbors, increased public debt and gone missing on the earthquake and nuclear meltdown leadership: that bar must be buried. But he does polish up very nicely. If he and his cronies can't get young Japanese men to have fertile sex more often and increase the growth rate it will all be for nothing.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

If he keeps going the way he is, Abe will be the last prime minister Japan will ever have.

11 ( +24 / -13 )

Abe being a nationalist means devoting political effort to making Japan stronger. That's exactly what Japan needs, and that's exactly what the U.S. needs from Japan. To the extent that nationalism translates into a stronger military, and some would welcome that as a counter to rising Chinese power.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Another watchdog group? It's pretty sad that, in Japan they have to create third parties to monitor the law making parties. Anybody would think it is a corrupt political system (roll eyes). Personally, I don't think Japan needs to change the constitution at all. It will only be seen as an act of aggression by Japan's neighbors, who are also their lifelong enemies.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Largest weapon exporters in the world are USA, UK, Germany, France. You all know that Japan should join the club.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

"The prospect of a more assertive Japanese armed forces raises concern in many parts of the region that suffered under Japanese occupation during World War Two."

Blatantly false reporting. "Concern is raised" only in China and South Korea. North Korea too but no one cares. The Philippines which suffered from Japanese occupation is welcoming Japan's re-armament. Not a peep from Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar(Burma), not even Australia and New Zealand.

spudmanAug. 17, 2013 - 07:33AM JST "Abe is the best prime minister Japan has ever had." deteriorating relations with the neighbors, increased public debt and gone missing on the earthquake and nuclear >meltdown leadership:

Deteriorating only with the two countries that make anti-Japan sentiment an official political and diplomatic tool and are deliberately deteriorating the relationship. Everything else you mentioned occurred before Abe became PM.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

So Abe's going down the same road as Bush/Cheney and Obama.

Why bother with the constitution?

Next we'll have a Japanese NSA, secret police and Japan will be back where it was 80 years ago.

Think I'll move to New Zealand.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

"The head of a Japanese constitutional watchdog suggested on Friday that it would not block a bid by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to ease constraints on the country’s military." My immediate question was, "Who appointed him?"

"Abe put Komatsu, a career diplomat and specialist in international law, in charge of the bureau this month. Media and analysts cast the appointment as paving the way for the change." Of course, that explains it all.

What is the point of a watchdog if it can be changed at will for a dog that will eat out of the hands of those it is supposed to be watching by those it is supposed to be watching?

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Japan does need to protect itself from such rogue states as North Korea and China. Peace is important but you need to be like a father who fights to defend his family at times.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

But China and North Korea will think they have to protect themselves against rogues like Abe and history is on their side. It works both ways. In fact Japan needs to be protected from rogue companies like Tepco and Abe will not do that.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It sure is a two-way street.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

At the moment it's just a moot point: Abe has nowhere near the numbers in the upper house to gain 2/3 support. He would need to call a new election - or induce DPJ members to jump ship - at which point, Japan would be moving scarily close to an effective one-party-state.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A Japanese person told me that the military is really to control the citizens of a country and when I see countries like China, N Korea and now Egypt I understand his reasoning. What does Japan have that is worth attacking. It has little resources- perhaps rice?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

If it's such a good idea, then follow the rules and put it to a referendum. Otherwise don't follow the rules and pretend legitimacy. Which will Abe choose?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Next we'll have a Japanese NSA, secret police

already do.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Crazy Joe - Japan does need to protect itself from such rogue states as North Korea and China.

Japan CAN protect itself from any country under the current constitution. What it can't do is, commit an unprovoked attack or sell weapons to other countries. This is why Japan does NOT need to change the constitution. I fear that if Japan does change the constitution and are allowed first strike they will start firing on any ship or plane that comes within cooee of Japan and its disputed islets and they will start a war in Asia.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Japan already has the right to defend itself, so it doesn't need to change the constitution. The real problem here is that Japan wants the freedom to attack other countries whenever they see fit.

Do we really want to see another war?

-1 ( +6 / -8 )

Don't forget Indonesia, Ossan, which is particularly well-disposed toward Japan.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Japan remaining a completely passive state is a wonderful ideal, but in the neighbourhood it occupies, it would need to be absolutely 100% certain that the world will come to it's aid if things kicked off. And I don't think that certainty exists. Sadly, a well equipped and capable military is as much a deterrent for any potential aggressor as anything.

I don't fear Japan will abuse this either. I think that is an absolute load of propagandist tripe.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

This could finish Abe if it goes pear-shaped. We live in hope.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Yes, Jimizo, we pray for an acute attack of the tummywobbles!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Disillusioned

I do see your point, thanks.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Come on Abe, i've waited for this all my life. Mechas

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

For many years Japan has been the only country in the world that has restrictions on even being able to defend itself from foreign aggression. Certain countries, especially China and Korea have taken advantage of that and have treated Japan like a whipping boy. It is time for Japan to become a normal country and take its rightful position in the world just like every other country.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

kiyoshiMukaiAug. 17, 2013 - 07:15AM JST

Abe is the best prime minister Japan has ever had.

kiyoshiMukaiAug. 17, 2013 - 08:14AM JST

Largest weapon exporters in the world are USA, UK, Germany, France. You all know that Japan should join the club.

kiyoshiMukaiAug. 17, 2013 - 11:21AM JST

Come on Abe, i've waited for this all my life. Mechas

You remind me a reason over and over again why I am against the Constitutional changes. You are a mantra of Japan.

History will be repeated sooner or later as Japanese still do not want to learn from the past.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

So Abe's going down the same road as Bush/Cheney and Obama.

May not be a bad thing. Given the growing threat of China.

Why bother with the constitution?

Exactly!

Next we'll have a Japanese NSA, secret police and Japan will be back where it was 80 years ago.

Japan does already have an equivalent.

Think I'll move to New Zealand.

No comment .

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In the past few weeks I have seen a new military recruiting campaign commercial for the youth. It does look like they are trying to build up the military.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The classic sociological definition of power says that the state has the monopoly to use physical violence upon its citizens. As far as I know Japan is a sovereign state and it has the freedom to decide about its military forces, so I don't know what is the fuss about.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

Mr Abe should be very careful how far he pushes the constitutional reform

Of course most people in Japan between 10 and 50 years of age have no idea just how deep the scars are across not just Asia but many parts of the world; because unlike in Germany the Japanese were never told about their years of sinister and insidious inhumane actions.

It seems that your Prime Minister is sleepwalking your country into a personal vendetta to try and cleanse his own family past.

However this is not the 1930's this is 2013, and China is no longer a servile fragmented country. If Abe intends to stand up to China through military force then I am afraid Japan and its naive people are in for a very torrid time.

While victims of the tsunami and earthquake still live in temporary shelters and the debt of Japan spirals larger by the second the gamble this man is taking with all of your lives is incredible. Should any of the other major economies drop their currency or the global recovery stall - as is what is slowly happening - then Japan is toast.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Anyone talking about fear of "Japan attacking another country" is on drugs. We all know there is only one country tat is a concern to all of Asia right now and they have the muscle and the declared intent to take over the entire South and East China Seas. This story wouldn't even exist if not for China

ShwadagonAug. 17, 2013 - 05:19PM JST "Finally I have observed that many dates are remembered across Japan but I wonder on December the 7th each year are there many memorials as that is a day the nation really should reflect upon."

Dec 7th means nothing to that region. It was Dec 8th when the IJN attacked Pearl. Furthermore no countries hold memorials for when wars start, they hold them for when they end.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can't wait until Article 9 goes the way of the dinosaurs.

As to it's right to do as it will, Japan has the right to be able to defend itself against it's enemies.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It's a bit strange when the same country trying to bully you is the same country expressing concerns that you're going to shed your pacifist ways. It would seem to be more a convenience for the bully than anything else.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If Japan can show that it can handle a military without going down the roads it has gone down in the past, then there shouldn't be a reason why the can't have a deployable military. However, I don't think this administration, due to recent incidents in non-military affairs and slowly hurting ties with other important allies, should be the one who changes that part of the constitution.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Doesn't matter what Abe or his cahoots want to do. Japan will very soon pay for their continued follies.

-9 ( +1 / -9 )

The specifics of the collective self-defence that the Japanese MOD wants changed are the following 4 points:-

If U.S. ships were attacked while operating with Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Forces, Japanese vessels would be allowed to respond.

If ballistic missiles were fired in the direction of the United States, Japanese ships or ground installations would be allowed to attempt to shoot them down.

If international peacekeepers come under attack, Japanese peacekeepers would be allowed to come to their aid.

If international peacekeepers require logistical support, Japanese forces would be allowed to provide it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Changing article nine to specifically include the SDF could not be too upsetting to anyone at this time.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

First, a few notes about the so called "Constitutional Watchdog" ... the biggest problem is that they are talking about the CLB, which isn't supposed to be a watchdog like oh say the American GAO. It is the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, and as its name suggests it should act as something of a lawyer team for the Cabinet. If the Cabinet says "We need B-2 bombers. Find a way to make it happen with our Constitution", it is their job to find any loophole or whatever is necessary to make a legally-plausible case for it happening. If they can't find a way, they can report it but if the Cabinet says "Give it your best shot anyway", they can only comply. If someone doesn't like the idea, they can employ their own lawyers to argue for the un-constitutionality of the action.

At least, that's what's supposed to happen. That they are considered watchdogs is in fact a corruption of the division of powers concept. The watchdog of the Constitutionality of the government's actions should be the Judiciary.

Abe is the best prime minister Japan has ever had.

He isn't the best. I'm not familiar with every candidate for this title but surely at least Yoshida who thought up of the old doctrine (which at the time did suit Japan's needs rather well) would be a better candidate. But he probably is better than the more recent ones.

deteriorating relations with the neighbors, increased public debt and gone missing on the earthquake and nuclear meltdown leadership: that bar must be buried.

The public debt had been increasing for 20 years. If anyone is to be blamed, it arguably were the people who decided it was a good idea to reduce taxes for the rich (at its peak, it was supposed to sum up to 88% for the really rich) which grossly reduced the amount of available income. Or maybe those who thought it was a good idea to keep allowing welfare to increase.

@Disillusioned: Actually, other than the watchdog part (read above), the CLB and its predecessor has a very long history - it is nothing new.

@gaijintraveller: If anything, Abe is making it more like how it is supposed to work. Read above.

For your 2nd post, that will only be true if you consider only events up to 1945. Taking recent history it is hard not to consider China, North Korea and even South Korea the more dangerous countries. There is a reason why those 3 keep putting the frayed WWII tape into the player until even Westerners (whose upbringing and position gives them a more sympathetic ear) are getting a bit sick of it - they don't have a newer tape and they know it.

@only one

A Japanese person told me that the military is really to control the citizens of a country and when I see countries like China, N Korea and now Egypt I understand his reasoning. What does Japan have that is worth attacking. It has little resources- perhaps rice?

If he is willing to take the risk of being "controlled" by another country's military, at least I will call him as one with guts, but I doubt it. He probably just isn't very aware of the dangers.

@sf2k

If it's such a good idea, then follow the rules and put it to a referendum. Otherwise don't follow the rules and pretend legitimacy. Which will Abe choose?

Because it is hard to assemble 66%? The rule of 66% is there for safety, but a concern for safety sometimes means you react too slowly.

@Disillusioned

Japan CAN protect itself from any country under the current constitution. What it can't do is, commit an unprovoked attack or sell weapons to other countries. This is why Japan does NOT need to change the constitution. I fear that if Japan does change the constitution and are allowed first strike they will start firing on any ship or plane that comes within cooee of Japan and its disputed islets and they will start a war in Asia.

Certainly, in theory, using the full gamut allowed by the wording of the present Constitution, it can do that. In fact, you can read the Article 9 in such a way that Japan can even do the unprovoked attack thing. What they are not allowed to do is settle the dispute which makes it a bit pointless.

Nevertheless, the CLB's preceding interpretations have created a large amount of limitations. Now the only way to get rid of them is to rewrite the Article so the slate is cleaned.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Everyone is putting in their 2 cents about how the object to changing article 9 BUT this article is about Japan lifting their self imposed ban on collective defense, something all of Japan's allies think is long overdue! The US, especially, has been asking Japan to do this for a long time. At this point in time I would assume that only China and SK are against Japan doing so. China because they want to be the unchallenged bully and SK because China encourages them to do so.

Article 9 is one thing, collective self-defense is another.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If the Chinese and others are so worried about article 9 the last thing they should be doing is provoking a confrontation.

Every time they have attempted to invade Japan they always lost miserably.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Every time they have attempted to invade Japan they always lost miserably.

Hello, Deja vu, this is a global site. Your information above is incorrect.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

louis tanAug. 17, 2013 - 07:28PM JST Doesn't matter what Abe or his cahoots want to do. Japan will very soon pay for their continued follies.

Did you know that in 1890's China said the samething! Go and look-up "Convention of Tientsin", Beiyang Fleet and First Sino-Japanese War.....

Oh wait, that's right, you can't look it up unless it is preapproved by the PRC, sorry.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don't understand how Japan could grow a military from its pool of metrosexual men.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Don't understand how Japan could grow a military from its pool of metrosexual men.

They'd all have plucked eyebrows and shaved legs and wouldn't leave the barracks without a parasol. Best looking army bar none.

1 ( +3 / -1 )

Someone already mentioned that Abe is the best prime minister that Japan never had before. I think it may be true because Democratic Party which was previous main party just destroyed our diplomatic policy toward ROK and China and make JPN-US security treaty weaker. Abe is actually only the politician who may be able to break away current situation. Other countries are really sensitive what Abe does and remark which may be looked like provocations toward ROK and China. I do not know whether it is right choice or not, but something has been changing since Abe was selected. In my opinion, there is one more politician who might be able to reform our diplomacy. It could be Shigeru Ishiba. If you can be selected as prime minister, then something could change more.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Good!!! I'm tired of hostile aggression towards Japan- China, South Korea and all these other so called tough countries-- nearly 70 years and Asian neighbors are still up in arms--Your blaming current Japan for the past-- Please mister PM Abe, change the constitution- Japan already have a world class military--I wish I was Japanese instead of American-- I would tell all those other countries to get lost-- Japan can honor its fallen---China go to hell--I'm sick of your $1 wage an hour workers and your cheat trade practices---Japan is the only Asian country that could beat China-- I'm tired of South Korea also-- PM Abe, I'm an American and a big fan of Japan and your sir-keep of the great work---

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gaijintraveller

My immediate question was, "Who appointed him?"

You're confused - it is not anti-constitutional to try to change the constitution, and this guy has to watch for anticonstitutional acts. So far Abe has done absolutely nothing against the current constitution, but I'm sure he'll either break it or change it in the next few years...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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