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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 December 20 - 2018 January 9  > PM Abe in New Year’s address expresses intent to step up attack on Article 9
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2017 December 20 - 2018 January 9 [POLITICS]

PM Abe in New Year’s address expresses intent to step up attack on Article 9

January 5, 2018
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on January 4 at the New Year’s press conference said that he will “present the general public with a vision for Japan’s constitution that will bring about bright prospects for the future”, which indicates that Abe intends to submit a draft constitution to the Diet this year.

Although Abe stopped short of going into detail regarding constitutional change, it is obvious that he aims to legitimize the Self-Defense Forces in Article 9 of the Constitution which currently renounces war and bans the possession of war potential. Abe in the press conference boasted that in May last year he successfully gave momentum to discussions on what a new constitution should be both inside and outside the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. In that month, Abe stated that Article 9 should legitimate the presence of the SDF.

Abe’s remark at the beginning of the year is tantamount to a declaration of war against a wide range of grassroots movements opposing Abe’s moves to turn Japan into a war-fighting nation by undermining the pacifist constitutional clause.

An inclusion of the SDF in the supreme law clearly contradicts Clause 2 of Article 9 which bans Japan from possessing military forces. Abe’s attempt will never lead to the bright future he proclaims.

The Abe government has been emphasizing the need to strengthen the Japan-U.S. security alliance. Under this circumstance, if a clause regarding SDF is added to the Constitution, it will effectively legalize the unconstitutional war laws currently in place and allow SDF troops to join U.S. overseas military operations without any restrictions.

In addition, despite the fact that Japan is the only A-bombed nation in the world, the Abe government strongly supports the U.S. and refuses to join the UN treaty banning nuclear weapons. Many people in Japan are angry about Abe being so submissive to the U.S.

The opinion poll results carried in Tokyo Shimbun on January 3 showed that 53% of the respondents oppose a constitutional revision under the Abe government. Concerning Diet discussion on this issue, 67% said “there is no need to hurry”.

According to the Constitution, an amendment to it has to be approved by a national referendum. Pro-constitutional forces need to further expand and strengthen public movements so that Abe will think the chances of winning a referendum will not be high enough. This is a good way to deter him from calling for a referendum. It is high time for grassroots activists to show their strength to thwart Abe’s ambition.
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