politics

5 things to know about Japan's pacifist constitution

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By Shingo Ito

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GLOVE!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Typical anti-J AFP article written by a leftist.

Nationalists like Abe dismiss the constitution as a humiliating relic imposed by U.S. occupiers after Japan's defeat in World War II, 

When and where did Abe say this? There are "nationalists" who may say it, but that does not equate to Abe himself saying it.

Despite this, Japan actually has one of the world's best-equipped militaries, called the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), whose stated aim is to defend the nation in case of attack.

Yes, the United States after imposing Article 9 on Japan in 1945 then forced Japan to create the JSDF. First as an extension of the National Police Force to get around Article 9. From the U.S. point of view this was necessitated by the outbreak of the Korean War and the need to send US troops in Japan to Korea, thereby leaving Japan defenseless.

Any tentative move toward what critics call "remilitarization" would trigger alarm bells in China and the Koreas, given Japan's history of military aggression in the region.

It is welcomed and supported by every other country including Taiwan, ie; The Republic of China, a WWII allied victor. Also welcomed by all former enemies U.S., UK., Australia. France, Philippines, Vietnam, etc etc. Only Russia remains mum one way or the other. As for South Korea, the ROK military have no problems with Japan. Only the Chong Dae Hyup controlled J-hating public.

Abe wants to change the wording to affirm Japan's right to a military, ending the paradox that the SDF should constitutionally not exist, although it has for decades. The prime minister has stressed he would keep the clause that prevents Japan from waging an offensive war.

That's the way it should be. And any country that criticizes should first adopt a no-war constitution like Japan.

9 ( +20 / -11 )

One aspect that is often overlooked by the Article 9 thumpers is that if the SDF is not officially recognized as a military force, they cannot expect to be treated as POWs protected under the Geneva Convention of treatment of POWs.

Rather they would be subject to whatever the enemy feels like calling them and tried for murder and terrorism as “Armed insurgents,” “Insurgent Militia,” “Armed rebellion forces.” etc...

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Japan as a sovereign nation should now be able to do what it wants.

In 50 years will the old deal with America still be interpreted the same? Alarming China and the Koreas isn’t what Japan should want to do at all, but at the same time, Japan has had rockets flying over it, Russia making its presence felt up North, and China has some fiery threatening rhetoric as well.

Does Japan not changing the wording help to instill long term calm in the region? If so, then I think it’s a good idea. But China and Russia aren’t exactly nations that Japan can rely upon and can actually be quite threatening and want revenge for the last wars vs Japan.

Changing the constitution is a long game move. If it helps Japan be more active and thus instill peace through strength (probably with the US, UK, Aus, and India) then it would have had a good outcome. We don’t need examples in history of what happens to weaker nations who can’t defend themselves properly.

But if in hindsight it leads to conflict and bloodshed and just in the name of changing the constitution, it would have been wrong.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

No excuses are better than excuses, and no lies are better than lies. The constitution has protected Japan for almost 80 years, peace is basis for prosperity. If the constitution is changed for a war, that is the purpose of Abe's collective defense, another 80 years of peace is not guaranteed.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Whatever happened to the abductee issue? Oh right right..he's already reelected so no need.. right. Carry on!

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

@Akie,

The constitution isn't protecting anyone. You think China says 'oh boy, it sure is a good thing Japan has that peaceful constitution, otherwise we'd have to invade!'?

Changing the words won't start a war, but it will finally allow Japan to fight one without their hands tied.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

The only things you need to know about the Constitution are: (a) it is one of the only that embraces peace in the world, and people respect that, (b) it was born out of the destruction of an out of control and tyrant Japan, (c) it is respected by the majority of the people here, who do not want it to change, (d) and Abe and the Nippon Kaigi want to change it back and put Japan back in that tyrant position, not caring about A, B, or C, and who have no qualms about going back to the destruction of B.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

Why we spend money on failing US arms when we have so many natural disasters? Rescue helicopter OK, but attack planes, missiles? Israel control America, America control japan, and we all need Saudi oil.

but, Abe’s desire to take japan back to the Meiji period is plain simply selfish.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

extanker, China is a very different country that Japan tries to imitate but fails. For past 4000 years, China remains a very good and generous relationship with Japanese people. 2000 years ago, Emperor Qin already "discovered" Japan, as Australian discovered Australia 200 years ago. Instead of killing all Japanese to occupy the land, China brought gifts and knowledge to the people who arrived earlier. The peace constitution protects Japan in a way that it prohibits Japanese govt to launch a war. Past 80 years is a proof. It is not as simple as to change a word, it changes a concept, a basis, a legal framework, and it is very very dangerous. Abe is not going to fight in a battlefield, it is your sons and daughters, and generations to come. It is unfair to ask others and future Japanese to die for their "ideology".

-13 ( +5 / -18 )

One aspect that is often overlooked by the Article 9 thumpers is that if the SDF is not officially recognized as a military force, they cannot expect to be treated as POWs protected under the Geneva Convention of treatment of POWs.

Why should the rest of the world or any international treaty have to look at the SDF through the eyes of the Japanese constitution.

It's not the constitution of the world, that's what's overlooked.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

One aspect that is often overlooked by the Article 9 thumpers is that if the SDF is not officially recognized as a military force, they cannot expect to be treated as POWs protected under the Geneva Convention of treatment of POWs.

Why should the rest of the world or any international treaty have to look at the SDF through the eyes of the Japanese constitution. 

It's not the constitution of the world, that's what's overlooked

Because if the Japanese constitution does not recognize the SDF as a regular military force, the enemy has even less incentive to do so, and cannot technically be charged for war crimes in violation of the Geneva Convention of POWs.

SDF POWs could possibly be treated and tried as illegal combatants or terrorists, depending on the enemy’s interpretation.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

if the SDF is not officially recognized as a military force

This is a weird phrasing. The SDF is a division of the police forces. Of course it's not officially recognized as something it isn't. That's like saying the government is not officially recognized as the police. That's right, it's not...

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Our peace constitution is not humiliating. It is ideal. But it is humiliating the country is protected by other country indefinitely. Someday we have to protect our country by ourselves. To realize it, we have to change our peace constitution a little bit.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

What the Constitution has to be changed is to be more pacifist, unchain all those US military power on the Japanese land and enforce JSDF, Japan has vast territory if includes the waters and seas around to the 6th biggest country in the world. I know it will cost a lot of money to JSDF protect all Japan territories but what Abe is looking forward is to show the strength of military Japan who can help others, especially USA? Hmm, it will cost much more to replace all the US military bases in Japan. However if it's only to protect Japan, it will cost less, but if it will be to send military power to other regions will cost much more. UN can pay for Peacekeeper activities for some of them but far away to be enough to balance the amount the prices Abe is calculating, millions and billions of yens will be disposed to Abe's military implementation...That's impoverishing Japan, for sure!!

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Goodlucktoyou, For each Japanese, there are 99.99% Chinese inside. There is no way that Chinese would hurt Japanese, unless Japan invades China again, in which case, all Chinese would become "terrorists", according to the beer delivery guy.

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

As others hinted - the paradoxical status of the SDF - a vast military that's not a military - needs to be clarified, whether by passive re-wording or active change. Personally I think the simple acknowledgement that a militarized force exists for Self Defence of the nation exists, is enough.

And Abe has long stated on many, many occasions, it is his goal to put into place his grandfather's desire for the rewriting of the constitution esp to allow for the creation of a pro-active military with offensive capabilities.

His grandfather, Kishi - a former prime minister with a deplorable war record who was lucky enough to be exonerated by the occupation forces of war crimes, so he could join in the anti-commie mania of McCarthyism - is without doubt the single greatest influence on Abe. His prominence in Nippon Kaigi confirms this.

This is a worry for the ordinary citizens of Japan.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

The US did not ‘occupy’ Japan after WW2. They rebuilt the country after the idiots that were running it let it burn to the ground to satisfy the imperialistic delusions.

These threats from the DPRK and China they keep referring to are nothing more than paranoid delusions and rhetoric to support the constitution change. Under the current constitution, if there is any military action against Japan from either one of these nations Japan can take any military action necessary to defend itself and its people.

This constitution was set up to protect Japan. It has saved Japan from any retaliation from the countries Japan invaded during first half of last century. It has also saved Japan from itself by denying them the ability to attack other countries, which is what put them in this trouble in the first place.

The vast majority of Japanese people are very proud of how Japan has become such a strong country without any need to wage war. There is only a small percentage of right-wing imperialistic nut Jobs that have residual imperialistic delusions who want to change the constitution. It’s just a kick in the balls for the proud Japanese people. Hopefully, these people will get up from their sofas and vote against the change in the public referendum.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

do the hustle - well put.

And, ".....There is only a small percentage of right-wing imperialistic nut Jobs that have residual imperialistic delusions who want to change the constitution...."

So true. And heaps of them are trolling on here today. Ya gotta love 'em.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

unless Japan invades China again, in which case, all Chinese would become "terrorists", according to the beer delivery guy.

Uhhh no. Even in the highly improbable to impossible case of Japan invading China, Chinese forces are officially recognized nationally and internationally as regular military forces and when captured, must be treated in accordance to the Geneva Comventions and killing of enemy combatants by recognized military forces cannot be tried as murder.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

BeerDeliveryGuy, you don't get it, do you ? Do you really believe that only Chinese militaries will defend their country ? Every Chinese will do the same, as being permitted by UN charter. Similarly, SDF has the inherited right from UN for the right of self defense. All Abe is preaching are lies.

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

Yes, but you do understand that civilian combatants are considered to be insurgents and are not protected by the Geneva Conventions.

As long as the status of the SDF is ambiguous, their treatment when captured is up to the interpretation of the captor. And there are certain nations who I would not say are so benevolent as to recognize a defacto military, rather than exploit a legal loophole.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

BeerDeliveryGuy, all laws have limits. If you have the concern, ask international community to change Geneva Conventions, not Japanese constitution.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

So you want to blur the line between regular military and civilian combatants forces and militias and provide equal rights?

Do you realize how slippery a slope that is, giving civilian death squads and insurgents who lack centralized control the same authority as the military?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Folks, the single BEST thing that happened to Japan was to LOSE WWII!!

Then the next best thing was its new constitution! PERIOD!

The above two things are what has allowed Japan to PROSPER for many many decades.

Two posts, Browny1 (10:48) * Do the Hustle(11:23) are BANG ON!! abe is not in any way shape or form giving a damn about the PEOPLE of Japan!

abe only cares to ""clear"" his borderline war criminal grandfather, as Brown1 VERY correctly points out! abe has been harping on this for decades!

Next abe wants Japan's military ready for full offensive capabilities...……

SO that begs some questions. Is that what Japanese want? Clearly NO they don't! How would Japan's neighbours view these constitutional changes...……...not very well I would imagine. This is mainly because of Japan's poor understanding, dealing with what Japan did in the 1930-40's.....to this day there is far too much denial.

And here we are, if abe gets his way, what will Japan's future be like....I wouldn't roll those dice!!!

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

In a younger day used to look to the pacifist constitution as something we could all strive for, but with a bit of age comes the knowledge that you fail to be able to be able to defend and protect yourself at your peril. The jackles will circle, and singing Kumbayaa won’t work. It is what it is. Grown ups get it.

Just look at the massive geopolitical chess game going on and you’ll see this is nothing but a prudent move. Just hope they’ve learned from the past that’s all. Do it right, and do it smart. Be aware of the dangers of collectivism while your at it. Stand up for the idea of the sovereign nation ( and individual ) and the free world will support you.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

I disagree with Abe and the other old nationalists. Abe's insistence on changing the constitution to aline with reality of the SDF is in no way a necessity. He is missing an important step and you know how important procedure is in Japan!

Yes, the post-war constitution was brought in to control an out of control philosophy of Japanese values, but Japan still has not agreed yet on what Japanese values are. There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst the population and government in Japan the philosophy of the country. This step needs to be completed and added before any talk about changes to Article 9. The world has been waiting for 70 years for Japan to desire to create a new Japan. Now that Japan has succeeded to stabilize its economy, it is time to address how Japan fits in the world in a forward-thinking view. This step comes first in a country that values peace and its population.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

BeerDeliveryGuy, just called the secretary and he said that the convention will recognize Japanese SDF in case of self defense, and there is no need to change the constitution.

Well, hallelujah!

I forgot that everyone on the Internet is some sort of former government or intelligence agent or spec-ops operative who has “connections” up the wazoo, right....

While you’re at it, would you be so kind as to call Xi Jinping and the Secretary of UNCLOS and tell China to withdraw their illegal military bases from the South China Sea?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

PM Abe will gain the 50 percent of Japanese understanding to change the Constitution. It is not working. JSDF members cannot do their work with pride until Constitution is changed, PM Abe is right. Time to stand up and be strong, defend Japan and fight alongside USA soldiers if needed.

Do your best for Japan PM Abe!! Fight!!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

I guessing a lot of people here have never lived in a third world nation, never seen conflict, and learned about history via their favorite methods...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Ganbare Japan - PM Abe will gain the 50 percent of Japanese understanding to change the Constitution. It is not working. JSDF members cannot do their work with pride until Constitution is changed, PM Abe is right. Time to stand up and be strong, defend Japan and fight alongside USA soldiers if needed.

Another person who does not understand the current constitution.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Reality is that Abe won't use the revised constitution for offensive purposes. My worry is his successors. Without lifting a finger they'll have inherited an open door to militarily get back territories they consider theirs. We know there are enough extremists out there just itching for the opportunity, and enough rubber stampers to go along.

The flip side is that if you wait long enough the %age of halves, mixed blood in Japan will have grown to a level many may not care to fight or get back territories.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I say spread the article 9 around. China, both koreas, the US (please stop going into every single country), etc should adopt. An American self-defence force that didn't invade/liberate the globe would be nice. And no, not anti-American, just anti-policy from both parties.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Talaredoko

What era do you live in exactly? Its the year 2018! Japan is not mimicking colonist nations like Britain anymore.

Japan is not looking to going back to doing anything like that and I am sure that 90% of the people here would be firmly against taking over any other area.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The majority of the Japanese public does not see a need to change it, and as a long term resident I agree with them.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Well the majority doesn’t know jack about geopolitics then. Ever tried to bring this stuff up in English or Japanese? Awkward...

Watch this space over the next 20 or 30 years. There’s a few different scenarios that could play out. Some we haven’t even imagined yet either. Hold onto your hats. Kids may all end up getting implants and learning mandarin!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Article 9 of the constitution is unfortunately obsolete today. The war potential of JSDF is increasing year after year. This is an uncomfortable but real reality. It is a debate that will always be present. And all political and social factions will have to deal with it in the future, through a consensus pact.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The US did not ‘occupy’ Japan after WW2

Now there's a subject you could inform yourself about. The US - strictly speaking, the Allies - did occupy Japan from 1945 to 1952, and Okinawa until 1972, and that has never been in question.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

BeerDeliveryGuy, just saw Xi a few days ago in Russia, no need to call him again. The secretary of UNCLOS said that she has no legal authority to interfere with Chinese sovereignty issues.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Folks in case you didn't know Japan has been spending a TON of money on its military for DECADES, they are usually in the top 10

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

Something to think about for a country without "real" military.

If crap really hits the fan Japan can do a lot offensively NOW, the only area they are lacking is in some larger expenses on more obviously offensive weapons, that's it!

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Our peace constitution is not humiliating. It is ideal. But it is humiliating the country is protected by other country indefinitely. Someday we have to protect our country by ourselves. To realize it, we have to change our peace constitution a little bit.

That's right. Nobody's saying there'll be war in the future. Besides, it would only be to legalize a de facto situation.

If Japan wants to reduce the presence of the US and its bases. It is obligatory to slightly modify article 9.

There is no other.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Why are Japanese journalist retelling propagandized history?! There was no surrender and there was no occupation! It's pure propaganda! Japan WON WW2 ...

The under title 38 of the United States Code (which is Law) recognizes WW2 as extant to December 1946 ...

(8)The term “World War II” means (except for purposes of chapters 31 and 37 of this title) the period beginning on December 7, 1941, and ending on December 31, 1946.

The so called "surrender" ceremony on the USS Missouri was nothing but a circus act! Tickets were sold to it and Emperor Hirohito did not attend. The whole ceremony was propaganda and televised for the American public in order to prop-up the failing presidency of Truman whose approval rating was the lowest of any president in USA history! Why?

By 1945 Japan was just beginning to fight! 80% of their forces were on the main continent and just finished wiping out American Air bases all the way to Vietnam. Through out the war Japan held on to the most strategic piece of land in the war: Alaska. Right up to 1944! The Americans spent most of their resources in the Pacific trying to get Alaska back.

The dropping of two nuclear bombs was a terroristic act against a civilian population but had no military impact what's so ever! The Japanese Imperial Army (completely unaffected by the bombs), used their own atomic ordinances to defeat the Russian advance in the mountains of Korea and blew the Russians out of the water as they attempted to ford the waters to Hokkaido! It was a trap Emperor Hirohito set up when he ordered his forces out of Manchuria! American observers were brought in to witness the defeat of the Russians and report to Truman the massive army the Japanese mobilized!

By then Truman and the USA army command realized they had failed and were left with little choice but to proceed as Emperor Hirohito had wanted them: to sue for Peace! American soldiers cleaned up radioactivity in Hiroshima and Nagasaki! No "Victor" does that! During the seizure of hostilities ( - December 1946) and the negotiation for Peace ( concluded September 1951 ) Emperor Hirohito negotiated the opening of the American Markets to Japanese Industry! This is why Emperor Hirohito conceded to holding the so-called "surrender" ceremony. He needed the failing USA president to stay in power. The president pursued Peace and the treaty of San Francisco went into effect on April 28th, 1952 (eve of Emperor Hirohito's birthday)! That is when WW2 ended between America and Japan in the Pacific.

Everything above is FACT! What people tell themselves about 1945 and the bombs is PURE PROPAGANDIZED FICTION! The bombs were a monumental strategic failure! Emperor Hirohito had his trusted unit develop the deadliest bio-cyde and days after the bombs were dropped, canisters of the stuff were suspend above above Tonopah Army Air Field , and would have destroyed millions of people had the US leadership not begun to pursue peace!

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Paul Privara.

What movie have you seen? Your argument doesn't make any sense. With all due respect. What saved Japan from being a Third World country was the Cold War. To make an economic counterweight to China and the Soviet Union. In the Southeast Asian region.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Concerned Citizen:

The majority of the Japanese public does not see a need to change it, and as a long term resident I agree with them.

Wrong. Majority of Japanese DO want this awful Constitution changed, so the Japanese Military can do their job with PRIDE, and defend Japan in such an incredible dangerous time as now. If referendum was held by end of the year, Constitution would be changed. Pacifist constitution has not worked.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Ganbare - wrong.

From all accounts I've read the majority don't want the constitution messed with.

These people can never forget the suffering and horror brought upon them or their loved ones by an incredibly dangerous war machine decades ago.

Poll after poll says so.

And Pacifist constitution has not worked. LOL. Japan has had no one come home in a body bag due to military offensive action since ww2.

Japan has been admired around the world for being stronger and braver by sticking to it's Pacifist ideals.

The weak ones choose war. And most of the good citizens - you know the ordinary folks - know this. I don't know why so many pro-militarists dislike the common people so much.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I wish Abe all the best but 51% against compared to 37% in favour is a fair margin to make up.

He needs to really articulate, constantly, why this is necessary and it is necessary.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Doug- It is NOT an argument. These are documented FACTS! Look them UP!

AND the stated factual history is paramount to recognize! It provides the proper context and explains WHY Japan has a massive Army (SDF) and WHY it is the Japanese that will decide the future of Article 9! Not someone else! As the article above clearly outlines!

Simply put: Japan successfully negotiated PEACE, on their terms when Word War II ended (in the Pacific) on April 28th, 1952! This is FACT. Not the fictional plots of Movies and Animes!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Paul Privara

Give it a rest with the conspiracies. Those are not facts and I prefer to stay away from websites that have the word 'conspiracy' in them so I'm not going to bother looking it up.

Japan has no offensive weapon systems and no ability to project extended power outside their immediate vicinity. It's hard to take a fight to an enemy when you have no bombers and your combat aircraft have no in-flight refueling capability to prevent any long range engagements.

Saying Japan won WWII and had the US write their incredibly limiting constitution for them makes about as much sense as if we had England write our Declaration of Independence for us after winning the Revolution. It's nonsense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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