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Opponents vow to fight new security legislation

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Great!

It is good that there are people opposing as well as supporting the changes, especially in the manner, the process, in which it was enacted.

However, it is time to argue about HOW the changes are "interpreted" and "executed" (put into practice) by the government and their respective departments and agencies.

The key is in the most meaningful and effective interpretation and execution with high spiritual, moral and ethical standards. One most important area is the actual creation and implementation of any structures, systems, rules, policies, and procedures in line with the changes to the laws. It is the PEOPLE who actually carry out... those that take action, that MAKES EVERY BIT OF DIFFERENCE for the nation.

Mistakes are often not prevented at the top of any structure, but at the bottom. Therefore having the BEST people at th very bottom can and will make the difference. The structure and system therefore MUST allow for such best qualified people at the front and bottom to do the BEST job they can with the correct and worthy judgement.

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They can protest and challenge all they like, but that's not gonna change anything. This has been in the making since Abe first took office. He changed the laws so it wasn't necessary to have a public referendum and then just went ahead to change the constitution regardless of more than 60% of the population opposing it. The fascist bureaucrats have spoken! Welcome to Japan 2015!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

This "interpretation" of the constitution involves everybody living here directly. It creates a dangerous environment and brings the threat of a direct confrontation with another country. The sneaky way it was done makes a MOCKERY of democracy, even though that word is included in the title of Abe's party.

Without holding a referendum, this is FASCISM, pure and simple.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

How far do these consitutional changes go? Probably most members of Parliament do not know the full extent of the changes. I hope there is not some new law in there that would give Abe and his followers the power to censor the internet in the name of security.

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Actually, once the young Japanese start facing forced conscription for their armed forces we'll see plenty of opposition then.....

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“necessary in order to protect people’s lives and peaceful way of life”. “This is designed to prevent wars,” he told journalists."

The old fear-mongering technique to defend totalitarian decisions. It's being used world-wide by all sorts of 'leaders', for any reason, when they make unpopular decisions. Want to export weapons to make cash? "necessary to defend against terrorism/for peace!" Want to illegally attack another sovereign nation? "necessary to defend against terrorism/for peace!" want to refuse refugees whose lives literally depend on getting in? "necessary to defend against terrorism/for peace!" Want to circumvent the Constitution and change laws? "necessary to defend against terrorism/for peace!" Want the public to give up all their rights? "necessary to defend against terrorism/for peace!"

Ask him HOW being able to go to wars that don't even involve the country and all he can say is, "You don't understand! But if you did you would agree!" Ask him to explain it, since it's all so simple for him, and he pulls out cartoon fire fighters and a house on fire, and yet still, "You cannot understand, or you would agree!"

Abe says it's 'for peace' when all he has done is put a big red 'X' on for various nations who are just looking for an excuse to INCREASE aggression, threats, and some even action against the nation. His 'peace' is literally nothing but a greater chance and risk of war. But a lot of the hawks want that -- some have LITERALLY said they WANT war (with China in particular), and others want a return to the military might of the 'beautiful Japan' that once was.

Let's hope the opposition is serious about what it's saying and that is a galvanizing force to FINALLY and actually get them to get their acts together and present some good alternatives to his easily most horrible of choices in Japan's history (in terms of PMs).

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Love Japan and help PM Abe to make Japan a strong and vibrant nation.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

And the questions you the protesters refuse to hear are quoted once again;

Looking at Senkaku, South China Sea, North Korea, is Japan safer now than before? Does doing nothing and just screaming 'Peace' makes all these aggressive neighbors fold up and vanish? What should Japan do if an ally's vessel comes under attack near Japan? look on unconcerned because its not a J vessel? By hating the US military this much, why do you wanna clink on to a US - imposed constitution so much? Do you expect allies to help when Japan's interest here or abroad comes under attack?
-8 ( +3 / -11 )

If we are using the Senkakus as a pretense for full on war then we should think again!! The Senkakus are well over a thousand kilometers away from Honshu, over 400 kilometers from Okinawa. Yet, only a couple of hundred from Taiwan! Will Japan really go to war and fight for this? More to the point is will the youth of Japan lay down their lives for............this?

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@Change,

And the questions you the protesters refuse to hear are quoted once again; 1. Looking at Senkaku, South China Sea, North Korea, is Japan safer now than before? 2. Does doing nothing and just screaming 'Peace' makes all these aggressive neighbors fold up and vanish? 4. What should Japan do if an ally's vessel comes under attack near Japan? look on unconcerned because its not a J vessel? 4. By hating the US military this much, why do you wanna clink on to a US - imposed constitution so much? 5. Do you expect allies to help when Japan's interest here or abroad comes under attack?

Even if those questions are relevant and should be addressed. But, if so, then do it the right way: BY AMENDING THE DARN CONSTITUTION. All of your justifications for what was done cannot justify how it was done. Illegally and unconstitutionally.

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Tech support:

Can you please make the images go full screen or bigger when clicked on? I cannot even zoom in. I'm on mobile. Thank you.

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edojin,

I hope there is not some new law in there that would give Abe and his followers the power to censor the internet in the name of security

.

That comes with the TPP.

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Even if those questions are relevant and should be addressed. But, if so, then do it the right way: BY AMENDING THE DARN CONSTITUTION. All of your justifications for what was done cannot justify how it was done. Illegally and unconstitutionally.

Do you really think that was a realistic option, considering the horrendously low level of understanding the Japanese people have of force? How many of them even really thought about the Constitutional text rather than just drinking down whatever some "constitutional scholar" told them?

If not, then just admit what you are saying is that Japan shouldn't change, even if it kills them. Constitution, actually not even that because Abe didn't actually paint outside the lines is more important than Japanese lives and propserity.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki,

Do you really think that was a realistic option, considering the horrendously low level of understanding the Japanese people have of force? How many of them even really thought about the Constitutional text rather than just drinking down whatever some "constitutional scholar" told them? If not, then just admit what you are saying is that Japan shouldn't change, even if it kills them. Constitution, actually not even that because Abe didn't actually paint outside the lines is more important than Japanese lives and propserity.

Of course I think it is a realistic option. I think it is the only option for a country that wishes to live according to the rule of law.

Your statement and its implications is stunning. You are saying that the Japanese people are too dumb to understand government and the rule of law and that because of that, the honorable Abe-san, to help all of those dumb Japanese who can't understand these high and mighty legal and constitutional issues, is just taking matters into his own hands. In order to protect them. Because they don't understand what is good for them.

THAT is what you are saying. What a condescending view of your country and your own countrymen.

I, on the other hand, believe a REAL leader would be able to go to the people, persuade them of the risks, persuade them of the need to make the changes, and do what is necessary to bring them alongside to support the changes. THAT is what a real leader does.

Regardless, you are endorsing the rule of tyrants untethered from the rule of law and any absolutes on their power. Because the people are too dumb and ignorant to know any better.

And NOTHING in what I say is saying that Japan shouldn't change. What I am saying is that the change should be a change that the PEOPLE support. Because that is what representative democracy is all about. And the rule of law requires that changes be done in accordance with the rule of law.

What you are saying is, in essence; f- the rule of law, because the ends justifies the means. A sound basis for a society and a government going forward....

5 ( +5 / -1 )

Well said Zones. I was pretty appalled at Kazuaki's comments, but your reply said everything I was going to, and more.

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@zones2surf

Mr. Abe's ultimate goal is amending the constitution, but as you mentioned the other day,

the right way forward would be to push to amend the Constitution. However, that is far too difficult and cumbersome for these conservatives.

Amending Japanese Constitution is 99% impossible.There is no choice under the abnormal and unreasonable situation where it has been enshrined as pacifist constitution with no change in the past 70 years and the amendment would be regarded as Japan's becoming belligerent to be start war especially by neighboring countries. As for violating the constitution, isn't the SDF unconstitutional ? It is enshrined as follows, " In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained "? What is the difference in terms of interpretation?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@sakura3110,

I never argued that because "it was far too difficult and cumbersome for these conservatives", it was OK to do an end run around the Constitution. I was merely point out that they just can't be bothered with adhering to the rule of law. It is an inconvenience for them.

So, amending the Constitution is 99% impossible, according to you? Which means, what? We can just ignore it and do whatever we think is right? Again, you are offering reasons and rationale for subverting the Constitution and the rule of law.

You sound like the Conservatives in the LDP, who chafe at the Constitution and just want to get rid of it as being too constraining and not "Japanese".

So, just get on with it. Tell the Japanese people that the LDP no longer recognises the validity of the Constitution and that they will no longer govern according to its provisions... except for the ones it agrees with.

Because that is, in effect, what the LDP has done here. Completely undercut the rule of law behind the Constitution. Just be man enough to tell the Japanese people what you really think and are saying, which is that you will disregard the Constitution if and when it is inconvenient or contrary to what you want to do.

Oh, and on this:

As for violating the constitution, isn't the SDF unconstitutional ? It is enshrined as follows, " In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained "? What is the difference in terms of interpretation?

Actually, yes, in principle I would agree, it is unconstitutional. But that interpretation happened a long time ago. Which makes it even more important that Japan clarify its Constitution by amendment so that all are clear on the purpose of their "military".

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@zones2surf SEP. 19, 2015 - 11:30PM JST

Of course I think it is a realistic option. I think it is the only option for a country that wishes to live according to the rule of law.

By realistic, I mean whether there is a chance of that option being executed, given Japanese mentalities.

Your statement and its implications is stunning. You are saying that the Japanese people are too dumb to understand government and the rule of law

I didn't say they are too dumb to understand the rule of law. I do, however, suspect how much they've actually studied the law. And if you disagree, look at what I had to say about Article 9. If you think I'm wrong, then try to refute it (and don't just say a lot of constitutional scholars, blah blah blah because that's Appeal to Authority. If they have a good argument that you can explain in your own words, go right ahead but don't just throw them in my face please).

And that's the biggest problem. You keep talking about Rule of Law. Abe didn't break anything.

I say nothing about their ability to understand military affairs, international relationships or national security.

THAT is what you are saying. What a condescending view of your country and your own countrymen.

My view may or may not be "condescending". However, if I'm right, and they are incapable of making this estimate, then pretending they can and taking all actions on that basis is delusional wouldn't you say?

I, on the other hand, believe a REAL leader would be able to go to the people, persuade them of the risks, persuade them of the need to make the changes, and do what is necessary to bring them alongside to support the changes.

What is necessary seems very vague, and that is because you don't have a clue as to what is necessary, or whether it is even possible. You just pretend it is.

Here is what I think. There are some things that will never be popular with the people. Defense bills, especially increased defense. Increased taxes. Reduced benefits ... etc. If these things actually become popular, now it is really time to hastily emigrate to another country because the feces are about to (or have already) hit the fan.

This is the other reason we have representative democracy. Basically, responsible leaders know that these things are necessary. So when they become convinced by the experts that they are, they put out some bribes where they can to "charge" political capital. Then they burn some of it to push through what's needed. The willingness to burn political capital for these causes rather than just accumulate it is the mark of a good versus bad politician. Good politicians don't always do popular things.

And NOTHING in what I say is saying that Japan shouldn't change.

Sorry, guy you can't have it both ways. If you say Japan should change, but only by method A, and you know full well method A is impossible, then what you are saying is that Japan shouldn't change, at all costs.

You can take such a position but I just wish people can be more intellectually honest about their position rather than just pushing all the "bad stuff" on their opponents.

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changeSEP. 19, 2015 - 07:40PM JST And the questions you the protesters refuse to hear are quoted once again; 1. Looking at Senkaku, South China Sea, North Korea, is Japan safer now than before? < Isant the last last 70 years enough proof enough? I would have to say, now with this change, so has our safety.> Does doing nothing and just screaming 'Peace' makes all these aggressive neighbors fold up and vanish? < Lol, are you claim that this bill will cause neighbors to fold up and vanish?>

What should Japan do if an ally's vessel comes under attack near Japan? look on unconcerned because its not a J vessel? < Please show us a real example of when that has happened, rather than a made up fear of "what if".> By hating the US military this much, why do you wanna clink on to a US - imposed constitution so much? < Clink on the US? Imposed constitution so much? What are you trying to say, it's really not clear.> Do you expect allies to help when Japan's interest here or abroad comes under attack? < Yes, that is and has been the past & present agreement and the few cases of this actually happening, I haven't seen the US protect those intrest. What makes you think the US will act any different now?>
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It is time Japan gets rid of its war mongers and hatred mongers, Prime Minister Abe, Aso and his gangs. Make sure you vote for the opposition parties in the next elections. Japanese voters are paying a heavy price for not voting in the previous elections. There are enough poor, struggling Japanese and disaster victims in Japan who need government help but receive not enough help. Now Prime Minister Abe wants to borrow more money, on top of the 250% of GDP that Japanese government already owes, the world's biggest external debt as a percentage of GDP, to wage wars along side the USA.

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@Stuart hayward SEP. 20, 2015 - 12:45AM JST

Isn't the last last 70 years enough proof enough? I would have to say, now with this change, so has our safety.

The last 70 years worked because Japan had the United States. For 40 or so years, it also worked because the worst they had to face was the enemy's tail (Far East District). For about 20 more years, it worked because there were no enemies (that's when they should have been making preparations, not now, but that's impossible for a democracy even if it's not heiwa-boke japan). Now the "Happy Times" are coming to an end.

Lol, are you claim that this bill will cause neighbors to fold up and vanish?

They won't fold up, but the ability to deal with them would hopefully increase.

Please show us a real example of when that has happened, rather than a made up fear of "what if".

Please answer the question, because thinking about it when the missiles actually are in flight is a bit too late.

And if we must talk about fears of "what if", then all the "left-wing" fears of further changes, being dragged into American wars, all that are things that have not really happened yet to Japan.

What are you trying to say, it's really not clear.

I think he meant cling onto the US imposed Constitution.

Yes, that is and has been the past & present agreement and the few cases of this actually happening, I haven't seen the US protect those intrest. What makes you think the US will act any different now?

Here's the thing. If the United States, the country that got its snout into WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam ... etc won't help you, no one will.

If you accept that the US won't help Japan, then you could be right that collective agreement with America is nothing but a risk and waste. However, if you accept that, then Japan will have to really think about what to do about its own security. It may have to quadruple defense expeditures because it cannot use computations that assume the US will help her. If no one wants to increase defense expenditures sufficiently, then other options, even rather distasteful ones like becoming a Chinese protectorate will have to be considered.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Actually, once the young Japanese start facing forced conscription for their armed forces we'll see plenty of opposition then.....

This is an interesting comment. I don't see Japan ever having a conscription, but do you think it's possible that Japan could follow Korea's lead and have all high school student do two years in the military to finish their high school studies? Could this be part of Abe's hidden agenda? It's probably not a bad thing. At the very least, it would pry the mobile phones out of the hands of ALL Japanese teenagers. It might also give them some sort of purpose in life. I teach. I a college and a university and very few have life goals. Sadly, the main goal they seem to have is, get out of Japan and marry a foreigner, both boy and girls. How's that line in the song go? "If there's war between the sexes then there'll be no people left!" This seems to sum up the current Japanese society pretty well. Japanese women don't like Japanese men and Japanese men don't like Japanese women. No wonder the birth rate is crashing, hey?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Opponents vow to fight new security legislation

Cheap applause knowing that this is essentially over. Much of the general public will have very little interest on the issue since the fears and emotional rhetoric put forth by the opponents will not come to fruition. The latest example of this is the secrecy law where they were convinced that journalists and outspoken scholars would be jailed.

The establishment of SDF, 1960 ANPO, and PKO laws were all controversial with the issue of unconstitutionality involved. The governments have been "reinterpreting " for decades and thanks to this, Japanese citizens enjoy their current status quo of peace and prosperity.

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Who are the opposition? Political opportunist and communist Chinese sympathizers! Abe has the security interest of Japan in mind. The protestors have nothing but adherence to some naïve idea of pacifism and a desire to let others do the work while they complain of base locations and noise. When years go by and there is no noticeable change in Japan's military operations the people will look back and see that this whole kerfuffle was nothing more than grown children being overly emotional.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@B.l. Sharma I think the opposition loves Japan too.

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That chart doesn't look promised if China goes to war to Japan.

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Kazuaki Shimazaki SEP. 20, 2015 - 12:58AM JST If you accept that the US won't help Japan, then you could be right that collective agreement with America is nothing but a risk and waste. However, if you accept that, then Japan will have to really think about what to do about its own security. It may have to quadruple defense expenditures because it cannot use computations that assume the US will help her.

The post war U.S.­-Japan security treaty has been based on a grand bargain by which Japan agreed to provide bases for the U.S. to project its power into the rest of Asia, and beyond, in return for an American guarantee of Japan’s security. Things change. Abe and other leaders recognize that Japan cannot expect the U.S. to put its young men in harms way to help protect Japan, while Japan doesn’t make a contribution of its own. The new security legislation recognize that this postwar constitution no longer suffices, and Japan must do more. There is a real fear that U.S. will be weaker. This creates a dangerous security situation for Japan. But one consequence of the China security threat is agreement in Japan that no security policy is available that does not involve an close alliance with the U.S.

Abe should be writing a thank you note to Xi Jinping. The Chinese have been doing everything in their power to strengthen the right-wing in Japan, to convince Japanese that China is a threat, whether it is in the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands or offensive actions in the air defense zone declared by China. They are bashing the Japanese left and right, trying to get British and U.S. allies lined up in criticism against Japan. All of this has undermined any support and positive attitudes about China in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tokyo has said the changes would allow troops to help their American counterparts, but officials have remained tight-lipped on who else it would cover.

Officials may be tight-lipped on who else, other than the U.S., Japan's SDF would come to help in a future military conflict. But isn't it true that they have the Philippines in mind above anyone else?

The U.S. Pacific Command and the GSDF have been frequently engaged in joint military exercises on the assumption of retaking outlying islands. The U.S. side is intensely teaching the GSDF all its know-hows in such wars. It's probable that The GSDF might fight such wars as a proxy for the money-pinched U.S. forces.

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Kazuaki ShimazakiSEP. 20, 2015 - 12:58AM JST Thank you for your detailed responce to my reply to "change". Though you made some points, I respectfully disagree with most of them.

As I've said, we've had 70 years of peace, why on earth would we want to change the policies that helped make that happen? Many keep talking about China's aggression, have they attacked Japan? No. While I don't agree with the leaders of China's actions, there are far more "aggressive" countries.

If anyone should be considered aggressive, it should be the US, with non-stop wars or "military conflicts". Take a look at the US track record for the last 70 years, no other country has been even close to having that many physical confrontations" (war).

It's true only time will tell what's in store for Japan, but supporting all of the US conflicts will be a much quicker road to a non-peaceful Japan. Do you realize how many times the US military comes under attack, while attacking? Japans new commitment, guarantees we will be fighting in no time. Will fighting unnecessary, wars somehow make us safer? I disagree.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki,

Re: your comments (Kazuaki ShimazakiSEP. 20, 2015 - 12:45AM JST), thanks for making them.

I have debated responding to them in detail and at length. And I could, point by point. However, in the end, I think we have a fundamental disagreement. You clearly believe that the ends justifies the means and that if the ends is correct, then the powers that be should have the right to do what they want. Which is, in essence, the concept of a benevolent dictatorship. A la Singapore after its independence.

I, on the other hand, believe in the rule of law and that the government has an obligation to abide by that law, regardless of how difficult it is. And I believe that the government serves the people and is the people's servant, not their benevolent masters. I despise condescending bureaucrats and politicians who hold the ordinary citizen in contempt. And I have met a number of those arrogant Todai, Waseda, Keio, etc. grads in government that are just that.

So, let's just agree to disagree. Your idea of how a government should work and my idea of how a government should work are just very different.

With that said, it is off to brunch and a few extra glasses of champagne to celebrate Japan's rugby win.

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@zones2surf

You seem not to realize how difficult the amendment is here in Japan where interference by neighboring counties is common (for instance the prime minister cannot go to a shrine to commemorate war deaths and make a pledge to no more war, There are claims to Japanese school textbooks) and where a masochistic historical view has remained due to the WGIP(war guilty information program) designed by the US after the war. Those are big obstacles for Japan to amend the constitution.

I'm relieved you agreed that there is no difference between SDF and the new security bill in terms of reinterpretation to the Article 9 in order to protect people and Japan. After long-time debate, JSDF has become to be accepted to Japanese people and political parties except Japan Communist Party which is aiming to dissolve the forces in the future.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You seem not to realize how difficult the amendment is here in Japan

It's difficult for a reason.

The last instance of a country bending the rules because the rules were too difficult, was in Iraq when the US just couldn't wait for the weapons inspectors to complete their job, because they 'knew' there were WMDs in Iraq. So they invaded before the UN could release a resolution, because they didn't want to have to abide by that resolution. Of course we know now that that resolution would have been the right thing to do, as there were no WMDs in Iraq. Can you see the parallels in what is happening now? The government knows it's too hard to get constitutional change through, so the go around them altogether and bend the rules. And this is going to go just as bad as Iraq did.

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@sakura3110,

You seem not to realize how difficult the amendment is here in Japan where interference by neighboring counties is common (for instance the prime minister cannot go to a shrine to commemorate war deaths and make a pledge to no more war, There are claims to Japanese school textbooks) and where a masochistic historical view has remained due to the WGIP(war guilty information program) designed by the US after the war. Those are big obstacles for Japan to amend the constitution.

Actually, I do realise how difficult the amendment process is here in Japan. However, you then go and list a few reasons and obstacles to amending the Constitution which I find puzzling to say the least.

So, let's start with how the Constitution is actually supposed to be amended. Which is Article 96. The text of which is as follows:

ARTICLE 96. Amendments to this 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. (2) Amendments when so ratified shall immediately be promulgated by the Emperor in the name of the people, as an integral part of this Constitution.

So, a 2/3 majority (supra majority) of both Houses and a referendum approved by the majority of the Japanese people.

OK, I get that there has not been a successful amendment since the Constitution was put in place. However, part of the reason for making it somewhat difficult to amend the Constitution is to ensure that the fundamental framework guiding a country is changed only after due consideration and sufficient support.

You are arguing that it is too difficult to amend Article 9. Why? Because of not having 2/3rds of both Houses? Or because of the majority vote in the referendum by the nation? Because the ruling coalition has 2/3rds of the Lower House and 55% of the Upper House.

It seems to me that the conservatives just can't be bothered going to the people directly and arguing that the people elect representatives in both the lower and upper house that would support an amendment. And going to the people and arguing the reasons why the voters should support a referendum to amend the Constitution.

Voters are an amazing thing. If you are able to make a compelling argument for something and are able to demonstrate to them why they should vote for it, they will. My guess is that the conservatives know that they cannot win this argument with the majority of the Japanese people given what they want the SDF to be able to do. And if that is the case, then why should the government get to effectively do an end-run around the Constitution because the people won't support an amendment.

The reasons you gave for why it is difficult, however, were a mystery to me, as I saw them as irrelevant. Well, OK, maybe the part about the education of the people is relevant (I suppose that is why conservatives believe the education curriculum needs to be revised so that children are properly indoctrinated). In any event, the terminology you used and the way you described this (war guilt information program???) leads me to believe that you share the goals of the conservatives. And that this is about the ends justifying the means.

As an aside, do you know what it takes to amend the U.S. Constitution? It takes a 2/3rds vote of both Houses of Congress and approval by the legislatures of 3/4 of the states. Not exactly an easy process. And yet 5 amendments to the U.S. Constitution have happened since the end of WW2. Of course, it isn't easy, which is why politicians from both parties are much happier to try to circumvent this process by resorting to judicial intervention or executive actions that sit in the grey zone. But it doesn't make it right.

I'm relieved you agreed that there is no difference between SDF and the new security bill in terms of reinterpretation to the Article 9 in order to protect people and Japan.

I agreed to no such thing. I believe what I said was that I could see why the SDF could be viewed as unconstitutional. Not that because the SDF was formed by a reinterpretation of Article 9, it makes this security bill OK.

There are many that have found the current, very robust SDF as being a contradiction of Article 9. I would be one of those. I have long believed that an amendment to Article would both address this longstanding issue and provide the necessary flexibility in order for Japan to do what it needs to do in the future to defend itself. However, there is no question, that while there may be some justification for being able to maintain an SDF without violating Article 9, the provisions of the security bill go beyond the idea of self defense. And, no, collective self defense is not the same as self defense. More importantly, they incrementally add enough to the capabilities of the SDF and its use of force to bring it into contravention of Article 9.

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@zones2surf SEP. 20, 2015 - 11:46AM JST I agree we may have to agree to disagree, but I think we have a different fundamental disagreement. We hadn't really even gotten to the "ends vs means" argument, simply because Abe actually is still painting within the lines. Which is fortunate and demonstrates the foresight by Ashida and co who modified the original wording of Article 9 sufficiently to allow such interpretations while not completely pissing off the American occupation.

Constitutionality aside, I also agree that the government serves the people. However, "serving" the people means serving their best interests, which is not synonymous to just doing whatever they (or the more vocal elements) tell you to do.

Or because of the majority vote in the referendum by the nation?

If you ask me, though both are hard, the bigger hurdle is the referendum by the Japanese nation.

Voters are an amazing thing.

I'm sorry but that's just not the way I see this at all. Over the short term, you can only manipulate voters within a cone of societally-acceptable views. In short, you can only do it if the population as a whole is pretty neutral on the proposition to begin with. Otherwise, you can win a few of them over, and maybe soften the opposition a tad, but not nearly enough. Unless you get lucky and get (or arrange) something drastic, like Pearl Harbor - that's why some people think Roosevelt conspired that one to happen (I don't agree but it was certainly a lucky break for him).

Constitutional or not, the change to permitting collective self-defence is substantive, I'll concede. Unfortunately, to do this the way you want it to, the work will have to start about 1990, with Japan exploiting the temporary lack of a great threat to develop an independent policy, strengthening relations with such countries as Russia and India for the upcoming rise of China. Education changes will be made to prepare the mass of the population (the Chinese and Koreans can scream but in 1990 they can do little). Then around 2010 the collective self-defense measures can be passed.

Unfortunately for Japan, most politicians are really bureaucrats and they tend to advance down the paths of least short-term resistance. And certainly China, Korea and the US were doing their level best to make such changes harder. The first two don't want changes period because that's a disadvantage for them. The last wants the changes but is unwilling to allow the preparation needed to get it to happen.

That's why by 2015 Japan has a stellar debt (no one had the fortitude to insist they live within their means), lower tax incomes than in 1990, is stagnating, and is facing an ever rising Chinese threat that the Japanese people as a whole are poorly prepared to even acknowledge, let alone be willing to make sacrifices to contain.

Poor Abe is just paying the bill for the inactions of his predecessors.

OK, maybe the part about the education of the people is relevant (I suppose that is why conservatives believe the education curriculum needs to be revised so that children are properly indoctrinated).

If there is one thing that right-wing Japanese, Chinese and Koreans can agree on, it is that education (indoctrination) counts. While most people in the United States don't want to think so, it then wonders why it is so hard to get Japanese to accept what it sees as reasonable defense measures. Maybe the other side has the more realistic idea.

And yet 5 amendments to the U.S. Constitution have happened since the end of WW2.

Well, I've checked what those 5 are. Do they look nearly as fundamental as Article 9? In fact, these would be handled as mere Laws in the Japanese system - as you can see the voting age was indeed lowered to 18 just now, by law. In the Meiji Constitution era, modifications to suffrage (equivalent to the 19th Amendment) were also passed ... by law.

http://www.cqpress.com/incontext/constitution/docs/constitutional_amend.html:

"The Twenty-second Amendment (1951) limited presidents to two terms in office. The Twenty-third (1961) gave citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote in presidential elections. The Twenty-fourth Amendment (1964) outlawed poll taxes in federal elections. The Twenty-fifth (1967) set procedures for handling presidential disability, and the Twenty-sixth (1971) lowered the voting age to eighteen"

By the way, why do you think 19th Amendment (suffrage for women) was passed in 1920? That's because around that time, the general zeitgeist had changed enough that it became a sellable idea. People won't have tried to push it in 1900 because it simply won't have enough votes. That's just one example of how good ideas still have to wait for the people to get around to it. Except that the United States can wait for zeitgeist to change enough to allow woman's suffrage but Abe and Japan is already in overtime.

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@zones2surf

I take back my wrong assumption about you for having little information inside Japan. I'd like to make an apology for it. I really wish the amendment of the constitution to be achieved for clarification. I intended to say it's difficult not because of the process but people's mentality.

Sometimes I become pessimistic when it comes to the background of people's judgment. Please search more about the WGIP which had hung over the Japanese mentality. That's one of the reason for no amendment for nearly 70 years, while 59 times in Germany, 27 times in France, 19 times in Canada, 16 times in Italy.

Mr. Abe has planned to tackle firstly the article 96 to much more value the people's opinion and at the same time to make it easier to break the ice to the article 9.

Some scholars insist the necessity of a new article in the case of emergency which is lacking in the current constitution and this will also open a breach to amend the constitution.

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Unfortunately, Both neighbors have demonstrated an unwilling to accept and play within the rules of international law, and demonstrate governmentally coordinate violence and hate campaigns, so Japan needs an unfettered military.

Well, historically, Japan has been the one doing that. Not China or North Korea. And the fact that you play that "communism" rhetoric speaks for itself.

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