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Japan’s prime minister announce ‘reform constitution ASAP’

Japan’s prime minister announce ‘reform constitution ASAP’

Posted July. 12, 2022 08:04,   

Updated July. 12, 2022 08:04


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated Monday that he will “proceed to discuss constitutional reform as soon as possible” and “will make sure to collect the necessary 2/3 of the quorum for constitutional reform by completing the discussions at the parliament.” His official announcement for the reform follows the victory of ruling party at the upper house election which was held two days after Shinzo Abe assassination. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) swept the victory winning more than half of the seats, and with other opposition parties come into coalition, a way over than the necessary 2/3 of the seats are secured.  

Kishida’s announcement is particularly noteworthy as the amendment of Japan’s pacifist constitution was long claimed by the right-wing conservative party but the prime minister himself had been maintaining neutral position on the subject. However, the Japanese politicians may see this is the just right juncture to drive the reform as new cold-war era is illuminating while mourning toward Abe is growing as well. Once the discussion starts in full gear, the alignment among different political parties would not be easy to achieve and it is uncertain whether the Japanese people would positively respond to the cause; thus, it is widely accepted among Japanese political landscape that now it the right momentum to grasp to proceed with the revision.

The discussion for amending Article 9 of their constitution will be on a fast track. The LDP’s reform direction is to maintain Article 9, stating, “Land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be sustained,” but they are planning to add a conditional clause to have self-defense forces ‘for necessary self-defense cause’. If Japan officially claims to own ‘capability to attack enemy’s bases’, it will allow first strike attack. Not only that, increasing their defense budget to 2 percent from the current 1 percent of their GDP, will make Japan not just ‘a nation capable of war’ but ‘the 3rd military powerhouse in the world’.

This will ultimately lead to growing tensions in the region and among neighboring countries. The reason that Japan, with history of aggression under imperialistic view, was able to achieve economic prosperity after being defeated during the World War 2 only because they accepted ‘unarmed peace,’ represented by the Article 9 of their constitution. It is only natural for the neighboring nations to express concerns about Japan’s military power enhancement, especially when they have failed to show sincere remorse or to apologize about their wrongdoings in the past.

Japan’s attitude towards their war criminal past is particularly different that of Germany; while both have history of waging wars against others, the latter has been relentlessly demonstrating apologetic gestures and put efforts to educate their people with right view on the nation’s history. Germany also recently declared a ‘change of the era’ due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and started militarization, they still managed to ease the tension with other nations by making necessary efforts. Germany knows, that their shameful past cannot be put an end with just cursory apologies, or finalization of political/legal actions. Japan, however, is seeking to turn a blind eye to their past instead of accepting it. What Japan needs to do is not racing toward rightist stance, but to earn other’s trust on their commitment in building peace for the world.