Abe says no need to explain constitutional revision to China

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he sees no need to explain to China and South Korea his cherished goal of rewriting the pacifist Constitution.

“It is our country’s Constitution, so it is not an issue that needs to be explained” to China and South Korea, Abe told reporters Wednesday accompanying him on his visit to Saudi Arabia.

Abe said that to achieve his goal he will aim to secure a two-thirds majority in the Upper House in this summer’s election.

He said any reaction from China or South Korea over his attempt to achieve the revision will “not influence” the course of political discussions.

Japan’s relations with China and South Korea have become frayed over the territorial rows and recent visits by Cabinet ministers to Yasukuni Shrine, where Japan’s war dead are honored along with convicted war criminals.

China and South Korea, which see the shrine as a symbol of Japan’s past militarism, have been irked by Abe’s right-leaning political stance.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party believes that the current Constitution was created under the heavy influence of the U.S. Occupation and it is no longer sufficient to “protect the people, territory and sovereignty.”

Among many constitutional amendment plans, the ruling party aims to revise the war-renouncing Article 9 to enable the Self-Defense Forces to become a full military.

Abe, who has until now focused more on reviving the economy, suggested that whether it is necessary to rewrite the war-renouncing Constitution will be a major issue in the upcoming Upper House campaign.

The prime minister, whose Cabinet has enjoyed high approval ratings since its formation in December, said “there is no change” regarding the LDP pushing for constitutional revision.

“I want to start with Article 96,” he said, referring to the provision that states constitutional amendments must be backed by a vote of at least two-thirds of all members of each Diet chamber.

Relaxing this requirement will make it easier to rewrite the Constitution, which has not been amended since it was enforced in 1947.

Together with junior coalition partner New Komeito, the LDP returned to power after three years in opposition on the strength of a landslide victory in the Lower House in December.

New Komeito, backed by the major lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, has adopted a cautious stance on revising the Constitution

But Abe’s LDP can rely on the support of the Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and other political groups to achieve the two-thirds majority in the more powerful Lower House.

Abe said he wants to discuss constitutional issues with his coalition partner “with sincerity.”

Abe, who is on a four-nation tour through Saturday, was in Saudi Arabia after visiting Russia.

  • mishimainizu@gmail.com

    Japan has all the right to change the current Constitution, which was imposed on her by the American occupation forces. And she doesn’t need to explain anybody, for neither China, South Korea and the United States would feel the need to do so.

    • http://twitter.com/drichi2009 Puddintain

      How do you know what the US would or would not do? I expect if it were to change its constitution in a way that nearby countries would feel threatened they would explain. If it didn’t it would be a very, very foolish thing to do. Then again, the US doesn’t have some other country to hide behind should it get into trouble.

      • 思德

        Sovereignty means you never have to answer to anyone for what your government does internally. The US cannot go on protecting Japan forever. It needs to be fully sovereign. That would include having its own military. People can certainly argue as to whether Japan’s political culture is mature enough to handle it, but then again, I’m not sure there’s any other country out there that has handled having a military perfectly ether, except maybe Switzerland and the Nordic countries.

  • nobuo takamura

    PM Abe said that it is no longer sufficient to protect the Japanese people under the current constitution. Then what constitution does he have in his mind? I know his party provides the constitution of its own making in the newspapers. But what I mean is the constitution before the current one was promulgated some years after World War II was the Meiji Constitution until Japan was defeated by the Allied Forces. Don’t say we should have Meiji Constitution in place of the current one. I suppose LDP’s would-be constituion is quite tantamount to Meiji Constitution to PM Abe’ s liking. I can find some of his intentions in some articles of Liberal Democratic Party’s draft. First of all, no sovereignty with the people!

  • Bernie Withers

    Here we go again – the samurai mentality! More dead Japanese so idiots can beat their hairy chests.

    • Kitty Hawk

      You seem not to understand what constitution is, or self-defense is. Revision of consitution isn’t the opportunity to exaggerate bravery. Go away, Mr. Uncultured.

  • Rei Murasame

    Sounds good to me. Abe needs to keep holding this stance, he looks very firm and confident when he’s like this.