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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 May 22 - 28  > Japan’s scholars set up association to block constitutional revision
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2013 May 22 - 28 [PEACE]

Japan’s scholars set up association to block constitutional revision

May 24, 2013
In opposition to an offensive to weaken the Constitution, Japan's prominent scholars established on May 23 an association with the aim of upholding Article 96 of the Constitution, which provides procedures for a constitutional amendment.

The article stipulates that the Diet can initiate a revision of the Constitution by obtaining support from two-thirds of all members of both Houses and then put it to a national referendum.

Constitutional revisionist forces such as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the right-wing Japan Restoration Party have been pushing for changing the article so that the Diet can propose a constitutional amendment by only a majority support from all members of both Houses.

Their real aim is to revise the war-renouncing Article 9 and turn Japan into a country that can wage war without restraints.

The group is comprised of 39 well-known scholars, ranging from promoters of the “Article 9 Association” to advocates of Article 9 revision.

Higuchi Yoichi, the representative of the association, said at a news conference, “People versed in constitutional law share the belief that it is inappropriate to relax the requirements for constitutional revision.”

Keio University Professor Kobayashi Setsu, a leading proponent of Article 9 revision, stressed that the revision of Article 96 will lead to destroying the supreme law itself. “The essential role of a constitution is to restrain those in power. Easing conditions for constitutional amendments will expose Japanese democracy to danger of collapse,” he said.

* * *

Yamanashi Governor Yokouchi Shomei on May 21 criticized the move to revise Article 96 of the Constitution as a kind of “crafty tactic”.

The governor said at a press conference, “I support revision of the Constitution. The second paragraph of Article 9 should be amended, I think.”

However, he added, “If those politicians want to change Article 9, they should make efforts to win support for that from two-thirds of all legislators of both Houses in accordance with the current provisions. Instead of making such efforts, calling for relaxing the requirements for constitutional amendment will gain no public support.”

In February, in reply to the question from Japanese Communist Party prefectural assemblywoman Kogoshi Tomoko, the governor stated that the second paragraph of Article 9, which declares the renunciation of war potential, should be revised.

Related past article:
> JCP pledges to defend Article 96 of Constitution [May 3, 2013]
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