politics

Japan split over revision to pacifist constitution

31 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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31 Comments
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Japan’s pacifist charter is at stake, organizer Ken Takada said: “We citizens must stand up, take action and raise our voice to stop Abe, or this country could return to a Japan that wages war with Asia as it has done before.”

No doubt these kinds of quotes will be conveniently overlooked by the anti Japan crowd.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

No doubt these kinds of quotes will be conveniently overlooked by the anti Japan crowd.

I don't understand you. What makes one anti-Japan? Is Ken Takada anti-Japan? He, like myself, might mostly love Japan, but recognize that her people have a tendency to act like lemmings, and they have a tendency to think their way is the best in the world, and he may feel that strict controls are needed to avoid conflict getting started because the lemmings will allow it to snowball in their haste to "help" people they think don't know any better.

Also, I think its pretty uncommon to heap praise on comments you agree with. Usually we attack comments we don't agree with. So I just don't get it. Do you think there is some malicious intent by people who don't clearly and specifically mention Ken Takada's comment?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

A 2012 draft revision proposed by the Liberal Democratic Party promotes a conformist Japan and traditional patriarchal values, placing family units above individuals and elevates the emperor to head of state from the current “symbol.” Civil liberties such as freedom of speech and expression can be restricted if considered harmful to public interest.

This is an incredible paragraph. I blame DPJ for this. They let this happen with their incompetence and miserable failure. If the goals of the LDP, as stated above, are reached, DPJ will be as much to blame.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Why any decent country would have weapons? They don't need weapons at all. With such world-state we are in, it's a shame. I hope sensible and sane people will prevail in this and stop Abe for making reasons of someone's invasion.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

“We citizens must stand up, take action and raise our voice to stop Abe, or this country could return to a Japan that wages war with Asia as it has done before.”

Is this person truly so naive to think that, if Japan loses Article 9 and becomes a normalized country, Japan will then immediately return to warfare? Holy Christ, read a newspaper. You're security environment is pretty dire right now, made worse by Japan's perceived weakness and reliance on the US military.

A strong Japanese military will be a deterrent to Chinese and North Korean aggression and it will help promote peace in the region and the world far more than Article 9 ever could. Further, getting rid of article 9 allows Japan to get rid of the US military presence which WILL have a positive impact on the region in the long run.

Wish these people would open their eyes. Plenty of nations are quite peaceful without being banned from going to war. Abe has his work cut out for him if the majority are this naive.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Sometimes this topic comes up when I talk to Japanese friends. We both agree, in principle, that a constitution should be written by the citizens of the country where it's used. Then I ask them, "Okay, so who would you appoint to the team who will produce this wonderful document?" and name a few illustrious figures from the fields of government, business and academia. Their response is to make an expression of disgust and concede my point that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Now Abe is proposing that the government reinterpret the constitution to give the military more prominence without having to win public approval for the revisions.

His push, backed by the U.S. which wants Japan to bear a greater burden of its own defense, has upset the liberals who see it as undermining the constitution and democratic processes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There you go Monkey's Uncle, stereotyping Japanese as lemmings and unthinking sheeple.

Exactly as I called it in the thread discussing the pictures of Japanese citizens marching against a constitutional amendment.

Anyhow my point was that the anti Japan crowd (those who continually portray all Japanese as xenophobic and ignorant war mongers who whitewash history) always overlook Japanese citizens like Ken, who in fact speak out against all forms of war and aggression, mindful of Japan's militaristic past.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

and elevate the emperor to a head of state.

Surely he is already Head of State???

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Surely he is already Head of State???

No, he is not. The prime minister is the head of the government of Japan. The emperor has no actual governmental powers in Japan.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Anyone who is for the pacifist constitution is pro-Japan IMHO.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Ironically, it is Japan's conqueror which urges the Japanese to reconsider their role. For years, Japan has lived in a kind of never-never land of illusion. The peace clause has been both a blessing and a hindrance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think it is funny that there are still people that think the Emperor is the Head of State of Japan. The constitution is very specific that he is not. That is one of the things that some want to change.

it is Japan's conqueror which urges the Japanese to reconsider their role.

What is your basis for this? I haven't seen anything to indicate that the US (whom I assume you are talking about) has been urging Japan to change their constitution.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Anyhow my point was that the anti Japan crowd (those who continually portray all Japanese as xenophobic and ignorant war mongers who whitewash history) always overlook Japanese citizens like Ken, who in fact speak out against all forms of war and aggression, mindful of Japan's militaristic past.

@oldman_13: Our dear Ken Takada is a relative unknown, a minority, and he has no power. The few who march have no power, and that is why they march.

The simple fact is, the majority of voters (even if not people) keep electing those to power who think very differently from Takada.

Far from labeling all Japanese anything, I think a lot of people are well aware that there are knowledgeable, peaceful and sensible Japanese people. But at the same time, they are keenly aware that those people make up barely enough people in the government to prevent Japan stepping foot back on the path of militarism.

As for stereotypes, not all are made up in an ivory tower. Many simply reflect repeated observation.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

To keep the pacifist constitution or to keep Japan, I know exactly which one to choose. Darwin’s evolution theory “Survival of the fittest” “Japan is not negotiable”

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

“We citizens must stand up, take action and raise our voice to stop Abe, or this country could return to a Japan that wages war with Asia as it has done before,” said protest organizer Ken Takada said.

Can someone tell this Ken Takada that the solution to this problem is vigilance by the citizens, and not continuing a ban of even what we may call legitimate collective self-defence measures?

In fact, to the extent Japan was forced into joining other people's wars (which has arguably really happened only once - in Iraq), this is because of inadequate self-defence capability, which makes makes Japan too much of a hostage to America. If Japan has enough capability - it can freely choose what wars to attend (or not), based on its self-interests rather than America's.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"“We citizens must stand up, take action and raise our voice to stop Abe, or this country could return to a Japan that wages war with Asia as it has done before,”"

Well said, good man. A person who truly believes in preserving the nature of Japan and its constitution, and not returning to the ways of Abe's grandfather and his ilk.

oldman: "No doubt these kinds of quotes will be conveniently overlooked by the anti Japan crowd."

The 'anti-japan' crowd are the people who disagree with Mr. Takada's comments, and you seem to be a part of that. No rational person would claim they are 'pro-' anything while at the same time suggesting they should not be legally denied the ability to commit violence. Anyone who is for the revision of the constitution is in favor of harm to the nation. Bottom line.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Article #9 is the basics for peace in the Pacific at least for Japan. The thought of peace and not war is what should drive our actions. While I advocate the ability of Japan to be able to defend itself do not want return to Imperial Japan. Abe and his LDP are a danger not only to the other countries but the Japanese nation. Article #9 needs to be made stronger not weaker. Yes there are those who call us unrealistic and looking through rose colored glasses. Ah to dream of a better tomorrow, Japan has been at peace for 79 years. The promise of peace is the goal and out paths should lead to it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Correction misunderstood the pacifist constitution term. My apology!

To keep the constitution preventing Japan from rebuilding it defence force or to keep Japan safe , I know exactly which one to choose. Japan must be able to defence itself and it cannot rely on the United States for looking after them for ever. America have too much on it plate, Japan have to shares some of the responsibilities.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Liberal Democrats want to change Article 96, which requires two-thirds of both houses of parliament to approve a constitutional amendment before it goes to a national referendum for voters to approve.

This is similar to how the U.S. Constitution works, expect that state legislatures, not voters, ratify amendments in America.

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In pat, several times action to revise article 9 failed because of Article 96. LDP is not looking to change Article 9 right now. Article 96 while people are discussing Article 9. LDP must be glad people are talking about Article 9.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A 2012 draft revision proposed by the Liberal Democrats promotes a conformist Japan with traditional patriarchal values, which place family units above individuals and elevate the emperor to a head of state. Civil liberties such as freedom of speech and expression can be restricted if considered harmful to public interest, according to the draft.

How do the Japanese actually feel about this? All I'm hearing is Article 9 this and Article 9 that, which is quite disconcerting when their very liberty is at stake. While I don't particularly agree with changing Article 9, it's of relatively little consequence if Japan has the ability to maintain a regular army like any other country.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Article 96 of the Japanese Constitution

Under Article 96, amendments to the Constitution "shall be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each House and shall thereupon be submitted to the people for ratification, which shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes cast thereon, at a special referendum or at such election as the Diet shall specify." The Constitution has not been amended since its implementation in 1947, although there have been movements led by the Liberal Democratic Party to make various amendments to it.

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LDP can propose to amend current Article 96. Then they can propose amending Article 9 under new article 96.

Examples are that change 2/3 to 1/3, only lower house, etc. they could not care less if people oppose Article 9 amendment currently.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No, he is not. The prime minister is the head of the government of Japan. The emperor has no actual governmental powers in Japan.

Yes, the prime minister is the Head of Government. Head of Government =/= Head of State. While some nations, like the United States, combine the two roles in 1 position (US President), many others do not. For example, the Head of Government in the UK is the Prime Minister. The Head of State is the monarch. In France, the President is the Head of Government, and the Prime Minister is the Head of State. Generally, the Head of Government has the actual powers, while the Head of State holds a sort of ceremonial role.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sir Edgar

"Anyone who is for the pacifist constitution is pro-Japan IMHO"

I don't think things are that simple. There are people who are sincerely thinking about Japan and against changing of pacifist constitution. But there are people who are for the changing of constitution and also sincerely thinking about Japan. They just have different perspective on how the peace can be maintained, though I personally favor defending the constitution today.

North Korea or China will happily support the USA changing constitution to make it more pacifisit, but that does not mean NK or China today is pro USA..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan is not US, UK, France, and so Japan has to follow Japanese Constitution definition of Emperor in Japan. So, he is the symbol of Japan. USA can not change Japanese Constitution because it can not modify Article 96 to change Japanese Constitution, Article 96 does not include USA into people who can modify Japanese Constitution.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's supposed to be the job of the supine supreme court to interpret the constitution, not that of the deranged nutcase Abe.

I won't hold my breath waiting for the supine supreme court to rule Abe's "interpretation" illegal. The constitution isn't worth the paper it's written on if the courts refuse to back it up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Supreme Court and Constitution'

The Supreme Court is generally reluctant to exercise the powers of judicial review given to it by the constitution, in large part because of unwillingness to become involved in politically sensitive issues. When decisions have been rendered on such matters as the constitutionality of the Self-Defense Forces, the sponsorship of Shinto ceremonies by public authorities, or the authority of the Ministry of Education to determine the content of school textbooks or teaching curricula, the Court has generally deferred to the government

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People need to take the horse blinders off.

The Japanese constitution was written by the USA, no one in japan had any influence over what went into it. The US wants Japan to take over its own defense & assist with keeping the peace in the pacific & Asia. Japan is totally reliant on the US military for its defense from China, without which it would have long been invaded & revenge taken for atrocities committed specifically against the communist party during WW2. The US taxpayers are footing the bill(& have been for a long time) for the defense of Japan & we have trouble even getting a favorable trade agreement.

Let's just say tomorrow the US removes it's protection of Japan, or is unable to do so for whatever reason. What would deter China from muscling in & taking what they want, when they want. Disputed territories, trade, invasion. The Chinese have more than enough boots on the ground right now to easily occupy a (mostly) un defended Japan.

Stop relying on the US military(& therefore the US taxpayer) for your own self defense.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Who influenced to make Japanese Constitution? Please read Charles Louis Kades and 'Tsuruyo Torio in Wikipedia

There is a book about Tsuruyo Torio in Japanese language, and were articles in English The lady who influenced GHQ. She was one of daughters of the wealthiest Japanese clan and nickname was Queen of Rokumeikan where GHQ officials were entertained by then Japanese Govt,

Japan has been reducing its funding to support bases over the last decade, dropping from a high of $3.17 billion in 1999 to $2.15 billion last year.

Shapiro told Kyodo News that Japan’s support of the bases should remain at current levels in order to ensure regional security, especially at a time North Korea is suspected of sinking a South Korean warship in March and China is flexing its naval muscles in international waters near Okinawa. (5/2/1/2004 info.)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Generally, the Head of Government has the actual powers, while the Head of State holds a sort of ceremonial role.

Absolutely. However, here the people being quoted are not talking about the Emperor being a ceremonial Head of State, they are talking about the Emperor becoming the actual Head of State in terms of the Monarchy and the Government. In fact, there are actually people who believe the Emperor has such governmental powers now, too. I had a much too long discussion with one poster months back who kept insisting that the Emperor had powers to dismiss members of the government at his pleasure, which, of course, is absolutely not the case. The current Emperor has no governmental powers at all. Some, like the LDP draft quoted in this article, would like to change that to allow the Emperor to actually become the Head of State governmentally.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LDP draft does not have Emperor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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