Supporters, opponents hold rallies over Constitution revision drive

Kyodo

Supporters and opponents of revising the Constitution, including the war-renouncing Article 9, staged rallies in Tokyo on Thursday in the wake of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to amend Japan’s supreme law.

A group of organizations, including the national association of Shinto shrines, held an event in Shibuya Ward bringing together some 1,200 people eager to promote the revision drive.

They adopted a resolution saying, “We must rise up for the great business of revising.”

Masahiko Komura, vice president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, was among the participants and told the event: “We will make efforts toward revision, advocating revisions to the Constitution openly and squarely in the House of Councilors election this summer and deepening national debate.”

Opponents held a rally of about 350 people, including history teachers, in Chuo Ward.

The participants adopted a resolution condemning the Abe administration for trying to “destroy” Article 9 and called for creating a peaceful Asia and world based on the philosophy of the Constitution.

“Japan has been shifting straight to a country that can wage a war since the security legislation was enacted,” the resolution said.

Thursday was National Foundation Day, which celebrates the foundation of Japan and the accession of the first emperor, Emperor Jimmu.

Last week, Abe called for more public debate about amending the Constitution, which he has said will be one of the issues to be highlighted during campaigns for the upper house election.

The supreme law, drafted during U.S. occupation of Japan after World War II, has been unaltered since its promulgation in November 1946.

Abe, speaking in the Diet, acknowledged he has yet to win public support for his call to revise the second paragraph of Article 9, which says, “Land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”