Japan’s ruling party pushing to end constraints on military


Japan’s ruling party pushing to end constraints on military

Ben McGrath

14 February 2018

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is preparing a draft revision of Article 9 of the constitution, which currently binds Japan to renouncing war, by the end of the month so as to have a finalized proposal for its convention on March 25.

While Article 9 has not prevented Japan from building a military, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is working to remove all legal and constitutional barriers to using the so-called Self Defense Forces to pursue the strategic and economic interests of Japanese imperialism. Abe’s push takes places amid heightened tensions in Asia, generated above all by the US-led confrontation with North Korea and more broadly China and Russia.

On February 7, Hiroyuki Hosoda, chairman of the LDP’s Constitutional Reform Promotion Headquarters, issued a directive to party lawmakers to submit within 10 days their own proposals for revising Article 9. “The most important aspect will be to gain public understanding and receive approval from a wide segment of the population,” he stated.

Article 9, adopted after World War II, contains two paragraphs. The first says “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation.” The second declares that “war potential will never be maintained” and the “right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

While there is consensus within the LDP for changes, disputes remain over the extent of the revisions. Abe has stated he intends to leave the existing two paragraphs intact while adding a third paragraph that explicitly legalizes the SDF, the formal name of Japan’s military.

Shigeru Ishiba, a former LDP secretary general and defense minister, has called for the party to stick…

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