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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 July 10 - 16  > Abe continues to seek revision of Article 9: constitutional scholar
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2013 July 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

Abe continues to seek revision of Article 9: constitutional scholar

July 11, 2013
While calling for relaxing requirements for constitutional amendment set under Article 96, the true aim of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo continues to be the revision of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, explained constitutional scholar Watanabe Osamu.

The following is an excerpt from Akahata’s interview with Watanabe, who is also professor emeritus of Hitostubashi University, regarding the Abe Cabinet’s current strategy for revising the Constitution:

To revise Article 9 and realize his long-cherished desire to turn Japan into a “war-fighting nation” is what Prime Minister Abe is aiming for.

However, proceeding the move to revise Article 9, Abe is seeking to revise Article 96 first. His strategy has changed from the first Abe Cabinet (2006 – 2007) when he clearly proposed the revision of Article 9 during his term of office.

While calling for Article 96 to be revised, the prime minister is also trying to get the government interpretation of the Constitution modified to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. To this end, he is expected to urge the Cabinet Legislation Bureau to change the interpretation immediately after the House of Councilors election.

Meanwhile, in order to have the Self-Defense Forces fight in wars abroad, the rewording of the constitutional interpretation is not enough. The fundamental structure of the Constitution centering on citizens’ right to live in peace must also be rewritten.

The first Abe Cabinet faced mounting public criticism and could not accomplish its aim to revise Article 9. That is why Abe now seeks to have Article 96 revised first by weakening the requirements for rewriting the Supreme Law.

Contrary to the prime minister’s expectations of easy victory, however, the proposal to revise Article 96 has aroused severe public criticism. It is urgent to strengthen public opposition and create a national consensus in order to block the revision of both Article 9 and Article 96.
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