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Thousands rally in Nippon Budokan Hall for constitutional change

by

Staff Writer

Thousands of people packed Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo on Tuesday in support of revising the pacifist Constitution while pledging to collect 10 million signatures favoring their cause.

The organizing group claimed 11,321 people attended the political rally at one of Japan’s most prestigious halls, located in Chiyoda Ward.

The group, Utsukushii Nippon no Kempo wo Tsukuru Kokumin no Kai, (National Society to Create a Constitution for a Beautiful Japan), said it has already gathered signatures from 4.45 million people, including 422 Diet members, expressing their support for constitutional revisions of one kind or another.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also serves as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, sent a congratulatory video message to the rally.

“The Constitution has never been revised. I think the time has come to seek a Constitution suitable for the 21st century,” Abe said in the recorded speech played for the crowd.

He also pointed out that any revision would require support of more than half of the voters in a national referendum, urging the group to promote campaigns to first “form a national consensus” on constitutional revision.

So far, national opinion polls have suggested less than half of voters support any revision of war-renouncing Article 9.

As a result, Abe has pledged to prioritize economic issues, not constitutional revision, at least until the Upper House election next summer.

“Let’s proceed together in steady steps toward revision of the Constitution,” Abe said in the video message.

To initiate a national referendum on constitutional revisions, support from at least two-thirds of the lawmakers in each of the 475-seat Lower House and 242-seat Upper House is required. This equates to at least 317 Lower House members and at least 162 Upper House members.

The group didn’t give a breakdown of the 422 Diet members who it said support some form of constitutional revision.

The signature form put forward by the group doesn’t specify which article of the Constitution should be revised. This could be a device to garner support from as many voters and Diet members as possible, regardless of which parts of the Constitution they would like to amend.

The National Society to Create a Constitution for a Beautiful Japan is considered a group derived from the Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi), the nation’s largest nationalistic citizens’ group.

The two groups share most of their key members, including Tadae Takubo, the head of the Japan Conference, and journalist Yoshiko Sakurai.

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    Looking at the apparent elderliness of the participants, I find it more than a little ironic that a bunch of people who have grown up enjoying the peace and stability of the post-war era under the US drafted constitution, are looking forward to cashing pensions run up on massive debt that future generations will have to pay, are now also telling future generations that ‘we’ve had our peaceful and stable life, and we believe in deny the next generation the same’.
    Thanks a bunch. When my kids are old enough, I hope they’ll choose to not take Japanese citizenship, and avoid the (coming) draft.

    • Yo Han

      What citizenship shall your children choose instead of the Japanese one? I hope they will not choose US-nationality which is worse in many aspects.

      • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

        America doesn’t have the draft, watch Japan introduce it next.

      • Police_lives_Matter!

        Coward!
        I hope your spawn share nothing of the prosperity of your country because of your meekness,
        Freedom is not free and does, DOES, come with a price-ignore the deviants in charge of America now-they’ll be gone soon as will their despicable “gratify my own urges at all costs” leaders.
        I say this as a veteran of one or more of the countries you deride.

    • Ron Lane

      The key disconnect here and what is important to keep in mind is that the government of this country is not representative of the people [in terms of social status, income and life experience]. The Butokan rally is merely the first of what will be many government-backed rallies in support of constitutional revision, something currently favored by only a minority of Japanese citizens.

    • Ron Lane

      The key disconnect here and what is important to keep in mind is that the government of this country is not representative of the people [in terms of social status, income and life experience]. The Butokan rally is merely the first of what will be many government-backed rallies in support of constitutional revision, something currently favored by only a minority of Japanese citizens.

  • disqus_vBekJrf7g5

    Looking at the apparent elderliness of the participants, I find it more than a little ironic that a bunch of people who have grown up enjoying the peace and stability of the post-war era under the US drafted constitution, are looking forward to cashing pensions run up on massive debt that future generations will have to pay, are now also telling future generations that ‘we’ve had our peaceful and stable life, and we believe in deny the next generation the same’.
    Thanks a bunch. When my kids are old enough, I hope they’ll choose to not take Japanese citizenship, and avoid the (coming) draft.

  • Testerty

    Looks like they are asking for a blank cheque….. and a “you can trust me” wink, wink.

  • socrateos

    > So far, national opinion polls have suggested less than half of voters support any revision…

    This can change quickly if China or North Korea does something very stupid.

    • http://lesstalkmoreactivism.blogspot.com/ Canaan

      Any revision? Or just Article 9?

  • http://lesstalkmoreactivism.blogspot.com/ Canaan

    Is it kempo or kenpou?