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Japan’s LDP: “Possession of Self-Defense Force Allowed in Constitution”

Japan’s LDP: “Possession of Self-Defense Force Allowed in Constitution”

Posted August. 03, 2005 03:05,   


Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) confirmed the draft of the revised constitution, which upgrades the Japanese Self-Defense Force to Self-Defense Troops, and allows for military action abroad.

The draft is a drastic version of Article 9, which declared that Japan shall give up on wars and shall not possess military power. Thus, it is said to have changed the taboo after Japan’s defeat in WWII to rearm itself.

On August 1, the LDP’s Basic Committee on New Constitution confirmed, through the officials’ meeting composed of former prime ministers, the draft of the new constitution to be declared in November this year, which marks the 50th anniversary. This is the first time that a constitution bill of a Japanese party has a legal framework.

The draft made sure that “Japan shall possess Self-Defense Troops in order to protect itself from foreign invasion, and to secure national peace and public safety,” reaffirming that it would equip itself as an actual military power.

In addition, duties of Self-Defense Troops are not confined to defending the Japanese territory be being stipulated to include “activities necessary for global peace and stability.” As a result, the defense principle of full defense tactics will be abandoned to focus on dispatching troops abroad. However, operating and dispatching troops are to be approved by the Diet.

Clause 1 of Article 9 of “No war” is preserved in terms of the original intention, but clauses on “not possessing army, air force and navy, and other forces,” and “not recognized right to battle” were deleted.

Also excluded are “those in the scope of social customs” out of religious activities not allowed based on separation of politics and religion. This may be interpreted to serve as an excuse to provide funds for visiting shrines, allowing the prime minister’s visit to the Yasukuni Shrine.

Moreover, regarding the voting criteria in the constitution, “Yes-votes of more than two-thirds of those of representatives and councilors present,” changes have been made to give more power to the LDP by easing it, saying, “Yes-votes of majority.” This would give leeway to the LDP so that it may introduce constitution bills on its own.

The constitution bill underway by the first opposition Democratic Party is said to be similar to the draft of the LDP regarding the main agenda. Thus, it is clear that constitution amendment, which will be underway in earnest starting next year, would be tilted to the rightist conservatives.

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com