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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 22 - May 12  > Pro-Constitution activists criticize PM Abe’s use of coronavirus crisis for constitutional revision
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2020 April 22 - May 12 [POLITICS]

Pro-Constitution activists criticize PM Abe’s use of coronavirus crisis for constitutional revision

May 4, 2020
On May 3, the day celebrating the 73rd anniversary of the postwar Constitution, pro-Constitution citizens held a street speech rally near the Diet building and streamed it online as a substitute for this year’s Constitution Day rally to oppose Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s constitutional revision attempts.

This event was organized by the organizing committee and co-hosted by the All-Out Action Committee and a nationwide network of citizens opposing Abe’s move to revise Article 9 of the Constitution.

On behalf of the organizing committee, All-Out Action Committee Co-head Takada Ken said that PM Abe is stepping up his constitutional revision push when he should concentrate on the ongoing fight against COVID-19. Noting that the South Korean government has decided to reduce its military expenses to secure funds for coronavirus countermeasures, Takada stressed that the importance of the pacifist Article 9 is shining now brighter than ever.

Ina Masaki, former professor at International Christian University, referred to an argument calling for adding an emergency clause to the Constitution in order to deal with an emergency like the ongoing coronavirus crisis. He criticized this argument for attempting to take undue advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak to establish a system enabling the Cabinet to create legislation without parliamentary authorization in the event of emergency.

National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) President Odagawa Yoshikazu, who is also a co-head of the All-Out Action Committee, proposed to promote the urgent signature collection campaign opposing Abe’s constitutional amendments. He added that the success of the signature campaign will counteract the argument for an emergency clause and strengthen public opinion against Abe’s attempt to change the supreme law.

The Japanese Communist Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People, and the Social Democratic Party sent solidarity messages to the street speech gathering. JCP Chair Shii Kazuo in the JCP message stressed the need to utilize the pioneering principles of the Constitution to overcome the present coronavirus crisis, the worst in post-war history. He wrote, “Let us make efforts to build a better future for a post-coronavirus Japan which will uphold the constitutional principles of pacifism, democracy, and human right protection.”

Messages from four civil organizations, including the Civil Alliance and Article 9 Association of comedians, were read out at the gathering.
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