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National Foundation Day holiday inspires Constitution-related events

Kyodo

Many groups in Japan organized political events Monday, the National Foundation Day holiday, on themes of celebration of the country’s establishment and a possible revision of the Constitution.

Some expressed concern over moves aimed at revising the pacifist Constitution under the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe while others including Abe’s deputies urged the government to formally organize a ceremony to celebrate the foundation of the country.

In an event in Tokyo, Osamu Watanabe, a professor emeritus at Hitotsubashi University, blasted Abe’s government for “looking to amend the Constitution in order to push through structural reform, military expansion and neoconservative policies.”

Watanabe told the audience of about 450 people, including academics and historians, that the ultimate aim of those backing constitutional revision is an amendment of Article 9, which renounces war.

“It is our responsibility” to show the world and other Asian countries, including those that suffered under Japanese militarism before and during World War II, that Japan will keep the Constitution unchanged, Watanabe said.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Celebrate Japan’s National Foundation, comprising the Association of Shinto Shrines and other conservative organizations, held a ceremony also in Tokyo with attendance of about 1,500 people, including education minister Hakubun Shimomura.

Sanae Takaichi, chief policymaker of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, told the event that the party will work on realizing policies listed in the campaign pledges in last year’s general election such as establishing a new Constitution that can replace the U.S.-drafted Constitution.

Takaichi said it is necessary to implement the pledges “in order to reclaim national sovereignty, dignity and national interest.”