Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

History can't be changed like Japan's statute

By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-27 08:51

History can't be changed like Japan's statute

With Shinzo Abe commencing his third term as Japan's prime minister, the year of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be pivotal.

To begin with, emboldened by the mandate in the Dec 14 election, Abe is likely to add more muscle to Japan's defense forces and build it into a full-fledged military.

Central to this task will be a reinterpretation of (or amendment to) Japan's pacifist Constitution. Article 9 of the Constitution says Japan chooses specifically not to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

But as soon as he was sworn in prime minister for the second time in 2012, Abe started moves to reinterpret Article 9. On Wednesday, after the first Cabinet meeting of his third term, Abe addressed a press conference in Tokyo explaining his New Year's resolution, which in essence is revision of the Constitution.

The year 2015 is expected to be one of debates in Japan and the rest of the world over the Abe administration's political and strategic moves. But, going by opinion polls, the majority of Japanese people remain opposed to any early amendment to (or reinterpretation of) the Constitution.

China and the Republic of Korea raised objections against the Abe administration's move in July after the Japanese Cabinet announced the Constitution would be read in a new light. But Abe has ignored its neighbors' objections and protests at home.

The Liberal Democratic Party has been in power in Japan for all but a few of the past 60 years. Now, with a two-thirds majority in the Lower House and control of the Upper House, the LDP, along with its junior coalition partner Komeito, is closer than before to its goal of pushing for new legislation on the Constitution. And it is expected to introduce such legislation in 2015.

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