Abe affirms bid to revise Constitution


Staff Writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday said his administration would try to revise the Constitution, updating it for the new realities of today’s world. He said amending the pacifist text is one of the Liberal Democratic Party’s most sought-after goals.

“I want to deepen public discussion about the way the Constitution should be, to match a new era,” Abe said during a question-and-answer session in the Lower House. “And based on such deepening of discussion, I will firmly and steadily work to revise the Constitution.”

Abe is widely expected to set his sights on grappling with constitutional revision if the ruling camp clears the Upper House election next year.

To lay the groundwork, the LDP is reportedly hoping to start talks with other parties as early as March and draft a list of constitutional amendments other parties would back.

Abe also spoke about the contentious issue of collective self-defense. He said that once his security legislation is passed, Japanese troops could be allowed to engage in mine-sweeping operations in the Strait of Hormuz.

Pointing out that some 80 percent of Japan’s crude oil imports and 20 percent of its natural gas pass through the strait, Abe said that closure of the waterway could meet the criteria required for collective self-defense response.

His remarks suggested that the Maritime Self-Defense Force might deploy to conflict zones even if hostilities are in progress.

The principle of collective self-defense requires that Japan’s survival be at stake, or that its citizens’ constitutional rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness be fundamentally threatened, in order for the right to be exercised.

“It’s the kind of situation that could pose serious damage, equivalent to our country being under armed attack,” Abe said.

The mine-sweeping operation was among several scenarios the Abe Cabinet cited in its push to make collective self-defense a reality. But coalition partner Komeito insisted that mine-sweeping should be the domain of the police.

Even though Japan has enough crude oil reserves to last about six months, if it is unable to secure sea lanes from mines it might experience a serious energy disruption, he said.

Abe also pledged to pursue a policy he dubs “proactive contribution to peace” and proceed with security legislation to expand the range of potential SDF missions overseas, including peacekeeping.

He said security threats easily cross borders these days, so it is important that Japan do more to bring peace and stability to the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

“We will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the international community in more proactive ways. And for that we need the SDF to play more roles,” Abe said.

  • timefox

    Keep it up!

  • Hendrix

    he’s itching to get his hands on that military industrial complex cash!

  • Stephen Kent

    For “I want to deepen public discussion about the way the Constitution should be, to match a new era,” read “I want to frame the debate and narrow the discussion as much as possible so that it seems like the only conceivable way forward for Japan is to have a massive, unrestricted military that can go out and secure the fossil fuels required to keep everything exactly the same as it is now”.

    The reality of today’s world is that all scientific evidence suggests we are standing on the brink of irreversible catastrophic climate change caused by the burning of the fossil fuels that Mr. Abe is so desperate to secure access to. If he truly believes that a disruption to energy supplies would be the same as an armed attack on Japan and wants to revise the constitution based on this thinking, surely he should realise that relying on external energy sources is the fundamental problem and that becoming as energy independent as possible is much more important in terms of solving this than making the country more militaristic. It would be much better for the people of Japan in the long term if he started plowing funds into renewable energy research and development, as well as promoting changes in lifestyle and working habits, and introducing stricter standards to maximize the energy efficiency of the country.

    I read somewhere that another one of Mr. Abe’s long term goals is to introduce a conscription system like the one in South Korea; but again, the reality in Japan is that 25% or so of the population is over 65, so to get the soldiers for the army he wants to build up he’ll have to drawn from an ever-decreasing pool of young people, which could hardly be called a productive use of the diminishing human resources of the country.

    It’s becoming ever more apparent that rather than facing reality and dealing with Japan’s long-term problems Mr. Abe is almost entirely motivated by his warped world view and his nationalist ideology, and I really lament the fact that the opposition camp is so powerless and in such disarray that there is no prospect of any change for the better any time soon.