Public against revision of pacifist constitution

Dhaka,  Thu,  21 September 2017
Published : 12 Jun 2017, 13:14:12
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Public against revision of pacifist constitution

Shinzo Abe wants as his legacy a revision to the pacifist constitution that has defined Japan since the second world war - but the public’s tepid response to his sudden push for change suggests it could become his undoing, according to a global media report on Monday.

Conservatives - including Mr Abe - view the existing charter as a humiliation imposed by the US on a defeated country, and think revising it is essential to making Japan a “normal country” again.

The prime minister has jolted Japanese politics by setting 2020, year of the Tokyo Olympics, as a deadline. He also ditched the ruling Liberal Democratic party’s proposal on what a revision should look like.

But although the constitution is important, almost nobody agrees with Mr Abe that the matter is urgent. The more he pushes, therefore, the greater the risk of a public backlash.

Article 9 of the postwar constitution states that the Japanese “forever renounce war”. Changing it requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament - something the LDP, with its coalition partners, possesses - followed by a majority in a referendum.

Mr Abe’s pragmatic plan is for small changes that are hard to oppose but set a precedent for revision of Article 9. In particular he wants to add a clause clearly stating the legality of Japan’s existing military arrangements, which are a grey area.

- SZ
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