Calls for constitutional revision to remove Article 9 increase

Political moves promoting a revision of the Constitution are increasing in Japan, supported by the United States and Japan's business circles.

On July 21, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told Nakagawa Hidenao, Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party Diet Affairs Committee chair, that Article 9 of the Constitution is an obstacle to strengthening the Japan-U.S. alliance.

The LDP is now preparing for a realization of constitutional revision for the first time in Japan's post-war period, and the LDP Research Commission on the Constitution is calling on the Komei Party and the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan to establish a joint council to discuss constitutional revision.

In addition, the Japan Business Federation (JBF or Keidanren), soon after the Upper House election, set up a panel to make proposals on constitutional revision and Japan's security.

JBF Chairman Okuda Hiroshi at a JBF summer seminar in Shizuoka Prefecture on July 23 called for Japan's military capabilities to be further strengthened.

When Okuda, also chair of Toyota Motor Corporation, said that Japan needs to have a stronger military force in order to place East Asian economies under its leadership, Nishimuro Taizo, chair of the Board of Toshiba Corporation, replied that paragraph two of the war-renouncing Article 9 should be revised.

In a news conference following this workshop, Okuda declared himself as an advocate of constitutional amendment.

Advocates of constitutional revision want to remove Article 9, which prohibits the use of force abroad to enable Japan to participate in U.S. wars abroad. The two major parties (LDP, DPJ) and the Komei Party, a ruling coalition partner, are in favor of constitutional revision and occupy the majority of the seats in the Diet at present. The United States sees this moment as the greatest opportunity to delete the anti-war paragraph, reported Akahata on July 24. (end)

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