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October 06, 2005

Time for amending Japan's pacifist Constitution??

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Thursday that lawmakers began deliberations at the Diet on a bill stipulating procedures to conduct a national referendum to amend the top law in a significant step toward revising the Constitution in Japan.

According to the Yomirui, representatives of most parties--including the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito as well as the opposition Democratic Party of Japan and New Party Nippon--said they were in favor of such a law. Only the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party expressed opposition to creating such a law, which paves the way to amending the Constitution.

Both of the ruling and opposition parties has been apprehensive about revising the Constitution, especially war-renouncing Article 9, which also bans the threat or use of force to settle international disputes.

However, Japanese people in general appear much more aware of the value of Article 9 than government ministers and lawmakers.

Wednesday's Mainichi Shimbun reported over 60 percent of those surveyed by the Mainichi had said they are opposed to revising Article 9 of the Constitution, even though a majority of the pollees expressed support for constitutional amendment in general. Only 30 percent responded that the clause should be revised.

The article said "The results clearly demonstrate that the majority of people think the pacifist clause should be retained even though the public is increasingly in favor of constitutional amendment amid ongoing discussions in the Diet on such changes."

Asahi Shimbun's poll conducted last April showed the similar result. According to that poll, 51 percent of the respondents said Article 9 should not be changed, in contrast with 36 percent who said it should be revised.

However, the article headlined "Playing the Constitution as a diplomatic card" continued that "the overwhelming majority of those polled also say they support Japan's alliance with the United States."

In fact, 76 percent of respondents to that poll said they approve of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, with only 12 percent disapproving.

Given many influential U.S. politicians including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, have argued for a revision to Article 9 to allow the Self-Defense Forces to engage in collective self-defense, the article concluded " we can expect the forces urging the amendment to gather momentum by emphasizing the importance of Japan's alliance with the United States."

Posted October 6, 2005 10:52 PM

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