War decisions aren’t ‘collective’

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution states that “the Japanese people shall forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes.”

But in all of the debate over the Abe administration’s move to “reinterpret” this article [to enable Japan to engage in "collective self-defense"], no one has pointed out that, in reality, it won’t be the collective Japanese people who make the decision to go to war or use force. As is true in all nations, and was true with Japan in World War II, it is the ruling elite, the military rightists or hawks, and the politicians who take a country into conflict with other countries.

The majority of Japanese will have little say in the defense decisions that are made once Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Liberal Democratic Party and the nationalists succeed in changing the Constitution.

name withheld by request
tokyo

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.