LDP plan for constitutional change will destroy democracy and peace -- Akahata editorial, November 20

The Liberal Democratic Party has unveiled a plan regarding the general composition and components of a revised Constitution and its underlying ideas.

Despite the term "revision," the LDP is aiming for more than amending some provisions. The LDP is attempting to tear down the present constitutional principles of peace and democracy, and replace them with completely different ones.

Lifting ban on the use of force

The LDP outline for constitutional revision is aimed at paving the way for mobilizing the Japanese people for war.

The outline consists of a preamble and 9 sections. Section 4 is on "pacifism and international cooperation" and Section 8 is on "a state of national emergency and armed forces for self-defense." The text of Section 4 includes wording almost similar to Article 9 of the present Constitution, but it has the following footnote: Use of force in the event of self-defense (which reasonably includes both individual and collective self-defense) and for the purpose of international contribution (to maintaining and building international peace) will not be banned.

Section 8 provides that the prime minister will be given the authority to declare a state of national emergency and that armed forces for self-defense should be set up under his command and control.

The outline states that the "armed forces for self-defense" maintain the necessary minimum fighting capacity to exercise the rights of individual or collective self-defense. Exercising the right of collective self-defense means taking part in a war started by military alliance partner even though it is not attacked by anyone. This means that in such cases as the Iraq War Japan joins the United States in using force.

The LDP outline makes it clear that the "Armed Forces for Self-Defense" will carry out activities of "international contribution that includes the use of force in addition to activities in a "national contingency." They will be military forces that use force overseas. The draft says that the "Armed Forces for Self-Defense" will be as small as possible, but that they will have equipment and personnel necessary for overseas dispatch.

The LDP outline also calls for establishing a "special organization" to "maintain order in the military." This is tantamount to reviving the Military Police and the court martial/military court system of the old days.

"National contingency" will cover the following three areas: defense, public peace, and disaster. Once the prime minister issues proclamation concerning any of the three, the government will be allowed to "restrict basic public rights and freedoms," while the people must "assume responsibility for national defense" and "cooperate with steps taken by the state, local governments, and other public organizations in national emergencies."

The Constitution's preamble states that the Japanese people "resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government" and declared that they "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force." Contrary to this, the LDP outline is tantamount to claiming that the public must be mobilized to cooperate with the government in waging wars.

Suppressing public opposition

The LDP draft calls for deleting the present constitutional provision that the Diet "shall be the highest organ of the state power" and changing the election system of the Diet. Demanding that voters shall directly elect members of the House of Representatives only, the LDP draft suggests that the House of Councilors be composed of lawmakers indirectly elected through newly established assemblies of some regions with some prefectures under a new law, as well as of appointed lawmakers.

Section 9 provides that the Constitution can be amended through a concurring vote of two-thirds of all the members of the Diet without putting it to referendum.

Thus, the LDP outline for constitutional revision advocates that the people shall be robbed of their rights to be directly involved in essential matters affecting democracy, such as electing members of the Diet and amending the Constitution. The LDP draft has thus exposed its anti-democratic nature. (end)

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