World / Asia-Pacific

Abe-led Japanese ruling coalition jeopardizing postwar pacifist Constitution

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-03 15:57

TOKYO - The Constitution Memorial Day on May 3 marks the establishment of Japan's war-renouncing Supreme Law since about seven decades ago, but the national holiday is likely to be changed to a memorial day for the last day of the pacifist Constitution due to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's eagerness to amend it.

The 69th anniversary of the Japanese Constitution on Tuesday came ahead of a key upper house election in this summer and if Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its small ruling partner the Komeito Party could win a two-thirds majority in the 242-member chamber, it will not hesitate to initiate a motion to amend the Constitution.

Abe has reiterated since he returned to power that Constitutional amendment is a main political goal for him and he wants to achieve it within his term ending 2018. According to the Supreme Law, amending the Constitution requires two thirds approval in both chambers in the bicameral national Diet. The ruling camp has the overwhelming majority in the lower house and is eyeing the upcoming election and a public referendum on the issue thereafter where a majority is also required.

However, ahead of the legal procedure, Abe's Cabinet unilaterally reinterpreted Article 9, the war-renouncing clause in the Constitution, to allow the country to use the right to collective self-defense and new security laws were forcibly enacted thusly.

Such an unpopular step was opposed by over 90 percent of Japanese constitutional experts due to its unconstitutionality. The latest poll by the Asahi Shimbun released on Tuesday showed that about 68 percent of the Japanese public also expressed their opposition to the security laws.

The Asahi Shimbun's poll showed that 55 percent of the respondents said it is not necessary to amend the Constitution, while only 37 percent approved amending it. About 68 percent said that Article 9 should be maintained, the poll added.

Article 9 says Japan shall forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes and also states that "land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained."

But recently Japanese government officials' answers over nuclear and biochemical weapons said the Constitution does not ban Japan from obtaining such weapons, a statement apparently contradicting Article 9.

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