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Constitutional change necessary to protect Japanese citizens: Abe

Kyodo

After being unable to save two hostages held by Middle Eastern extremists, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said constitutional change will be needed to protect the lives and assets of Japanese citizens.

Abe has said at times that with the current interpretation of Article 9, which forbids both the use of force to settle international disputes and the maintenance of regular armed forces, it is difficult to protect Japanese citizens in a changing security environment.

“The Liberal Democratic Party has already presented a draft amendment to Article 9, and amending it is to carry out our duty of protecting the lives and assets of Japanese citizens,” Abe told the Upper House Budget Committee on Tuesday.

He made the remarks in response to a suggestion by Masamune Wada of the Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations) that Article 9 should be amended to enable the Self-Defense Forces to rescue Japanese being held abroad.

“We should think about what to do with Article 9 as we may face various situations in the future,” Abe said.

The Islamic State militant group recently killed two Japanese men after holding them hostage, igniting debate over Japan’s crisis management against terrorists.

Abe has voiced his intention to amend the Constitution while in office, calling it the LDP’s long-held goal since it was founded in 1955.

The war-renouncing Constitution was drafted by the United States during the Occupation after World War II ended in 1945.

Last July, Abe’s Cabinet approved a major overhaul in national security policy, allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the Constitution, or defend an ally under armed attack even when Japan itself is not.

  • timefox

    A constitution isn’t a god. Doubt a constitution. Don’t be confused by nonsense of a constitution believer.

    9 articles of constitution couldn’t stop a Korean invasion. 9 articles of constitution is superstition to protect Japanese from killing. See Takeshima! See defeat of 9 articles of constitution!

  • 80CharlieGriffith

    That’s a very strange headline in English. Something lost in translation?
    These Muslim terrorists couldn’t care less about what’s stipulated by any nation’s constitution.
    Muslims’ justification for all of their throat-slitting and beheading comes from their reading of their Koran. It has nothing to do with observing any nation’s mere constitution.

  • rick jones

    Without taking a stand one way or the other on the question of the proposed changes, as the Japanese consider amending their constitution in response to acts of terror, I hope they keep the US Patriot Act and the Law of Unintended Consequences in mind.

  • Dharmendra Bihari

    Japan must take her rightful place in this world.
    No more apologies to nations whose record is hundreds of time worse than that of Japan.

  • BalramRules

    Japan has the right to protect herself. I agree with Abe here, post-WWII, Japan has been a very responsible and sensible nation. An especially exemplary nation. Article 9 needs a rework, if not a simple abolishment.

  • disappointed

    what a timing… did he let them die to make this point…? very convenient…

  • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ Andrew Sheldon

    There is no question that constitutionalism is a context-dropping, dogmatic provision arising from the West’s unsavory religious righteousness. That said, I would be equally uncomfortable with the West’s (including Japan’s) moves towards collectivist tyranny; where privileged eminent people (PEPs) decide the fate of society simply because they are ’eminent’. A pretense of public consultation just does not wash. Reason has to be the standard of value. The courts, as political appointees, are hardly effective custodians of the public interest when they are predisposed to accept the ‘will of the mob’ or the propensity of the PEPs to determine what they are saying. Each alternative is untenable.

  • Frank C

    All seems like kabuki theatrics for a war obsessed PM to have his way.

  • http://www.turning-japanese.info/ Eido INOUE

    A new proposed article to the Japanese Constitution has been in the LDP Constitutional Amendment draft proposal for a long time now, way before this incident occurred. The proposed new article is separate from Article 9 and its proposed amendments, and does not specify how the J-national is to be helped (militarily, financially, etc.). The latest draft reads as follows:

    (在外国民の保護)
    第二十五条の三
    国は、国外において緊急事態が生じたときは、在外国民の保護に努めなければならない。

    [unofficial translation]

    (Protection of Japanese nationals outside of Japan)
    Article 25:3
    The State of Japan shall endeavor to protect Japanese nationals residing outside of Japan during states of emergency occurring outside of Japan.

    The LDP’s proposed amendment is not novel or unique compared to other countries. Most other countries have laws or provisions that require the government to come to the aid of its citizens in bad situations overseas. Canada, for example, evacuated Canadian citizens from Lebanon during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

  • zayahv2

    The only valid argument is that Japanese people question too little and obey orders from their superiors blindly. Its a cultural thing but it can lead to atrocities much more easily. That said I think collective self defense is a good start and if Japan chooses to part with 9 completely it should be incredibly hard to declare war or use military force outside the grounds of self defense.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    And the fact still remains, that the likelihood of the rescue of hostages in far-flung places, requires the pre-positioning of forces, in appropriate strength, and at the desired level of readiness. In other words, a permanent overseas posting for a highly mobile, well-trained commando force. Calling up, and dispatching troops from Japan would not succeed.

  • Jeffrey

    Just how are comparing Japan and Palestine? You don’t elaborate. Japan has been a nation state for nearly 2,000 years and “modern” Palestine was a post-Ottoman Empire European construct that lasted only about 30 years.

    “Terrorist actions . . . two sides – China & ISIS”? Has Beijing sent suicide bombers to Japan because I know ISIS hasn’t. The two Japanese killed were kidnapped in a war zone, not Nishi Azabu.

    “Responsible Public (sic) & Governments worldwide are supportive of Abe’s line of thinking”? Really? I can think of a number of Asian neighbors who see him as belligerent and the American, Canadian and British press don’t pay him or Japan much attention at all outside of his being the PM and his obligation to sound tough. The attitude is one of abhorence to what happened to Goto and Yukawa, but there is certainly no debate occuring in the West about the status of Japan’s military.

    “. . . terrorism will affect the very existence of the world.” Not really. In fact only if Japan decides, foolishly, to involve itself in the current mess that U.S., primarily, caused in the ME, would this further affect Japan. The two Japanese victims of ISIL’s barbarism with targets of opportunity, particularly Yukawa, who had no business being there. Goto was, right or wrong under the circumstances, doing his job. Reading anything more into this is ridiculous.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    Thanks for that link, very interesting indeed, especially the announcement of expansion to “protect” Japanese nationals and timing of it. Depending on which source you read, Japan is already in the top 10 for annual military expenditure. Any increase would surely rile the neighbours, and not sit well with the electorate.

  • tisho

    wow, just wow. I predicted him saying the exact same words ! Go back and read my comment again ! Everything i predicted is happening.

  • Viva75

    We agree then

  • Bruce Chatwin

    I think that China and most of the other “communist” states are better described as one party totalitarian states. I agree that it’s irrelevant what people classify them as, they’re still loathsome.