Japan’s Constitution revision sits far as scandals take away support

Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, reiterated his push for a revision of the Constitution to formalize the legal status of the Self-Defense Forces on Thursday.


Despite his dream to revise the charter, increased activity of a string of recent scandals have paralyzed the Diet and has now dominated domestic headlines.


photo credit to: http://www.theperspective.se


Abe’s message merely repeated the one he said the previous year at the same event.


In last year’s message, he suggested that renouncing the so called “War Article”, Article 9 — a mainstay of the Constitution since after WWII — must be altered by 2020 to include a new paragraph formalizing the status of the Self Defense Fleet. It is Japan’s de facto military.


The same day in Tokyo, opponents of constitutional revision staged their own rallies. One of the biggest was held in the Ariake district of Tokyo. Organizers for the event — an effort by five groups that joined forces to rally — put the turnout at an estimated 60,000 members.


The protest was attended by leaders of opposition parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Democratic Party.


Instead of going into detail on issues related to the Constitution, opposition leaders decided to lambast the Abe administration for its apparent lack of accountability for the recent scandals instead.


The same NHK poll also asked whether Abe should promote debates prioritizing a revision or to prioritize other issues. Some 68.3% said Abe should prioritize non- constitutional issues. Only 19.2% voted that constitutional issues should be given priority.


Abe’s objective is to put an end to disagreements over the constitutional function of the SDF, which boasts one of the world’s largest defense budgets. It is also regarded by many as a violation of the strictly pacifist Article 9.


The government, however, has maintained for decades that the SDF is constitutional.


Reference: Abe’s dream to revise Japan’s Constitution drifts farther from reach as long-running scandals chip away at support


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