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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 January 13 - 19  > Block Abe’s attempt at actual revision of the pacifist Constitution
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2016 January 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Block Abe’s attempt at actual revision of the pacifist Constitution

January 14, 2016
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

“We’ll work to deepen a national discussion on constitutional revision through the Upper House election campaign. To revise the Constitution, we are aiming to win a two-thirds majority in the House along with other political parties with a strong sense of responsibility.”

Since the beginning of this year, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has been expressing his intent to undermine Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution. It is outrageous that the prime minister, who has the obligation to respect and uphold the supreme law, is taking the initiative in calling for constitutional amendment.

The ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties at present hold a two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives. Their aim is to secure a two-thirds majority in the House of Councilors as well so that they can initiate constitutional amendment at any time.

Giving consideration to Article 99 of the Constitution that requires state ministers to respect the supreme law, most previous prime ministers had refrained from attempting to implement constitutional revision during their periods in office.

PM Abe, an ultra-right-wing hawk in the LDP, is having no such hesitation. In 2014, he arbitrarily changed the conventional interpretation of the pacifist Constitution in order to enable Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense. In 2015, the governing parties steamrollered the unconstitutional security legislation through the Diet in defiance of fierce public opposition. Taking advantage of the coming Upper House election, the Abe administration is trying to create the conditions for revising the Constitution itself.

Some LDP lawmakers are highlighting the need to win over the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan to their side. Meanwhile, it is widely known that PM Abe and his aides are maintaining close contact with executives of the Initiatives from Osaka (Osaka Ishin no Kai), who the prime minister characterizes as those having “a strong sense of responsibility”.

In late 2015, Abe indicated that his government will consider adding to the Constitution a provision for coping with “a state of emergency”. The LDP’s draft provision for “a state of emergency” is designed to give more power to the prime minister in case of emergency such as a major disaster and allow the premier to restrict people’s rights by issuing cabinet orders which have the same effect as laws.

An opinion poll published by the Yomiuri Shimbun on January 11 shows that 51% of those surveyed do not support the national security legislation. The need now is to further expand public movements to abolish the war legislation as well as foil Abe’s persistent attempt to destroy the war-renouncing Constitution.

Past related article:
> Abe seeks to add emergency clause to Constitution [January 5, 2014]
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