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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 May 10 - 16  > Abe’s proposal on Article 9 aimed at hampering citizens’ collaboration
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2017 May 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

Abe’s proposal on Article 9 aimed at hampering citizens’ collaboration

May 14, 2017
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo earlier this month proposed adding a new clause to Article 9 of the Constitution in order to legitimize the Self-Defense Forces. This proposal was made in line with a strategy to create discord among public movements opposing Abe, Akahata reported on May 14.

Ito Tetsuo, who heads the rightist think tank Japan Policy Institute, is one of Abe’s personal advisors. He put forward a plan for “a new clause in Article 9” in the September 2016 issue of the institute’s official magazine, “Asu he no sentaku (The choice for tomorrow)”.

In the article, Ito explained the strategic objectives of the plan. He wrote that his proposal is a proactive policy to keep the anti-revision forces off balance and prevent them from conducting another large-scale joint protest campaign. What Ito had in mind was the fact that in 2015, opposition parties and a wide range of citizens formed a united front to oppose the unconstitutional war laws.

These opposition parties and concerned citizens agree on the need to protect constitutionalism, but they do not necessarily agree on the constitutionality of the SDF; some deem the SDF constitutional while others do not. Ito seems to hope that the plan to add an SDF-legitimizing clause to Article 9 will help create tension between the “SDF-is-constitutional” faction and the “SDF-is-unconstitutional” faction because the former would be reluctant to oppose the proposed clause.

On the other hand, Ito noted that most of the general public do not support Abe’s argument that a constitutional revision is necessary for Japan to “break away from the postwar regimes”. He said that trying to get people to accept the unpopular argument would turn them into opponents of a constitutional revision. Ito is aware of the weak point of the Abe government.

Ito’s remarks indicate that Abe’s notion regarding a new clause in Article 9 is aimed at not only legitimizing the SDF but also trampling on the pacifist principle of the Constitution and constitutionalism itself. Abe through his proposal seeks to allow the SDF to deploy its forces abroad without limit and turn clause 2 of the article into a dead letter. Opposition parties and citizens need to step up their efforts to deter Abe’s reckless ambition to enable Japan to participate in wars.

Past related article:
> JCP Koike denounces Abe’s call for legitimizing SDF [May 5, 2017]
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