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HOME  > Past issues  > 2009 June 10 - 16  > Law to establish procedures for constitutional revision must be abolished
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2009 June 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

Law to establish procedures for constitutional revision must be abolished

June 12, 2009
Akahata editorial

With the aim of beginning discussions on constitutional revision at the Deliberative Council on the Constitution, the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties railroaded a bill to set the rules of the Deliberative Council on the Constitution through the House of Representatives.

Based on the National Referendum Law that was enacted in 2007 to establish procedures for constitutional revision, the Deliberative Councils on the Constitution were set up in both houses of the Diet to make it possible to examine the original draft of a revised constitution.

Two years ago, the ruling block forcibly enacted the law to establish procedures for constitutional revision on the pretext that no procedural law is unusual under the constitutional provision about revision.

Again, the ruling block forcibly adopted the rules of the council on the pretext that it is unusual that the council has no detailed rules while the law to establish procedures for constitutional revision will take effect a year later.

The public does not want the Constitution adversely revised

What the public wants is abolition of the law on procedures for constitutional revision, not rules of the Council.

For more than 60 years since the Japanese Constitution was established, without instituting the law on procedures for constitutional revision hasn’t been a matter of concern because constitutional revision has been unnecessary.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo was the first prime minister to publicly express determination to get the Constitution adversely revised while he is in office. He pushed ahead with the enactment of the law to establish procedures for constitutional revision to the Diet.

Abe’s intention to adversely revise the constitution, however, ended in the LDP’s crushing defeat in the House of Councilors election just after the constitutional revision procedures law was enacted and Abe stepped down from his post.

Neither Abe’s successor Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo nor current Prime Minister Aso Taro can clearly state the aim for constitutional revision.

The reason why the rules of the Deliberative Councilor on the Constitution hasn’t been instituted after the law on procedures for constitutional revision was enacted is that the people clearly don’t want to revise the constitution.

The central point of the LDP’s attempt at constitutional revision is to incorporate the possession of self-defense forces and exercise of the right of collective self-defense into the Constitution and to enable Japan to use armed forces abroad by revising Article 9 of the Constitution.

Because of the failure of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, solving international conflicts by peaceful measures is the world trend.

Constitutionally, Japan is to make contributions to the international community peacefully through diplomacy instead of using military forces. In the present-day world, the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution is all the more important, and there is no need to amend it.

The Constitution has a significant role in securing people’s right to live in peace and have basic human rights. In the face of rapidly growing poverty and increasing economic inequalities, as well as layoffs of contingent workers, many people are beginning to focus on constitutional provisions that guarantee minimum social welfare and security of public health (Article 25), the right to work (Article 27), and the right of workers to organize and to bargain and act collectively (Article 28).

This means that Japan is called upon to make a better use of these constitutional provisions, instead of weakening them.

However, the ruling coalition used their majority to enact rules for the Deliberative Councils on the Constitution as a major step forward toward the goal of constitutional revision. They are going against people’s wishes for peace in Japan and the rest of the world.

We demand that the Diet abolish the procedural law on constitutional amendment, and that the LDP-led government stop all its maneuvers to dismantle the pacifist Constitution.

Increase pro-Constitution forces

It must be noted that the Democratic Party, notwithstanding its ostensible opposition role in the Diet, actually lent a helping hand to the government when the procedural law was enacted and the council’s regulation was approved.

Till the last moment when the procedural law was put into a vote, the dates for debates and voting in the committees and plenary sessions of both houses were determined jointly by the Democratic Party and the LDP-Komei coalition. A DPJ lawmaker went so far as to say that the DPJ has not once stated in the Diet in opposition to establishing the council’s regulation.

In his book titled “A draft new constitution” published earlier, DPJ President Hatoyama Yukio maintained that maintenance of armed forces and the use of right of collective self-defense should be accepted. We cannot forget that he is a politician fighting for a constitutional revision.

We must foil the scheme to adversely revise the pacifist Constitution, being pushed jointly by the LDP and the DPJ to further go against the public interests. The general public is called upon to join hands with the JCP so that the pacifist Constitution will be maintained and strictly implemented.
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