Craig Martin
For Craig Martin's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
Aug 5, 2019
The danger in Abe's constitutional amendment proposal
If there is to be any amendment to the Constitution, the substance of the Abe Cabinet's 2014 reinterpretation of Article 9 to allow collective self-defense should be made part of the proposal or withdrawn entirely.
Jun 12, 2015
Media should stop legitimizing Abe's Article 9 'reinterpretation'
The media should stop giving the Abe administration's 'reinterpretation' of Article 9 a legitimacy and validity that it does not enjoy under Japan's constitutional system.
Jun 27, 2014
'Reinterpreting' Article 9 endangers Japan's rule of law
The most serious problem with the recommendations of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's advisory panel on reinterpreting Article 9 of the Consititution is that they reflect a result-oriented analysis driven by national security imperatives rather than constitutional law principles.
Aug 4, 2012
Why Japan should amend its war-renouncing Article 9
The pressure is mounting to either amend Article 9, the war-renouncing provision of Japan's Constitution, or to increasingly disregard it and so make it irrelevant. In April the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) published its proposal for amending the Constitution, and the dangers it posed for Article 9 was analyzed here on June 6 ("LDP's dangerous proposals for amending antiwar article"). But the response to such amendment proposals by the supporters of Article 9 continues to be one of complete denial — that is, a categorical argument that Article 9 should not be amended at all.
Jun 6, 2012
LDP's dangerous proposals for amending antiwar article
The Liberal Democratic Party published its new draft constitutional amendment proposal in late April. The draft reflects a number of significant changes above and beyond those advanced in the proposal unveiled by the LDP in 2005. The proposal includes a complete overhaul of Article 9, the war-renouncing provision of Japan’s so-called Peace Constitution. These changes to Article 9 are important, and on balance, dangerous. The nature of these proposed revisions, and how they would likely operate, deserve to be examined in some detail.
Dec 2, 2010
Japan's leadership test in Sri Lanka
U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement last month that the U.S. would support an Indian bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council may reinvigorate the process of Security Council reform. Japan too has made permanent membership in the Security Council a high priority in its foreign policy. As such, it might consider how its handling of the Sri Lanka file reflects upon its leadership potential.
Aug 18, 2010
It's wrong to backpedal on nonnuclear principles
The prime minister's advisory panel on national security has recommended a reconsideration of Japan's adherence to the so-called three nonnuclear principles. The panel specifically urged that the third principle, the prohibition on the introduction of nuclear weapons into Japan (which forbids not only the stationing of weapons in Japan, but even the transit of weapons through Japan), be relaxed in order to permit the U.S. greater freedom in deploying nuclear weapons in Japanese territory.
Nov 7, 2009
Debate Afghan war goals, then select strategy
The current debate in the United States over the war effort in Afghanistan contains no shortage of opinions on the best strategy for defeating the Taliban, but far too little discussion regarding the actual objectives of the war. The famous Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz wrote about war that "the political objective is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation of their purpose." But in the current debate on Afghanistan we risk doing just that — arguing about strategy without a clear understanding of our goals.
Jun 10, 2009
A turning point in Japan for the right to equality?
A year ago this week, the Supreme Court of Japan issued a judgment that struck down a clause in the Nationality Act as being a violation of the Constitution. There are good reasons for everyone in Japan to celebrate that decision. While little noted outside of specialized legal journals at the time, the decision may have been the beginning of a more robust judicial protection of the right to equality in Japan.
Mar 26, 2009
Piracy and the Constitution
Once again the issue of Japanese contributions to international security efforts is the subject of tortured debate. And once again the proposed government policy, and aspects of the debate itself, reveals fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between Article 9 of the Constitution and the relevant principles of international law.
Oct 5, 2008
The fatal flaw in trying to impose a new interpretation on Article 9
The report of the "Panel on the Reconstruction of the National Security Legal Foundation," commonly known as the Yanai Report, argues that a reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Constitution is necessary to permit Japan to participate in collective self-defense and collective security operations. Both activities are currently understood to be prohibited by Article 9, Section 1. The report reveals, however, a fundamental flaw that entirely undermines the legitimacy of the panel's analysis.
May 21, 2008
Permanent SDF overseas deployment law endangers democracy
The Japanese government wants permanent legal authority to send military forces overseas. Letting it have it would be a mistake for many reasons, but one seldom raised is the impact the move would have on the nature of Japan's democracy. A law conferring permanent authority to deploy troops would eliminate important institutional checks and balances on the government's use of the military, causing a further weakening of the separation of powers in Japan.
May 3, 2008
Rule of law comes under fire
The government's reactions to the Nagoya High Court's April 17 decision that Japanese operations in Iraq are unconstitutional, raise profoundly disturbing questions about the rule of law and the democratic separation of powers in Japan.
Jan 10, 2008
Establish limits on naval support to U.S.
As the debate continues in Japan's Diet this month over a new Antiterrorism Special Measures Law (ASM Law) authorizing Japanese naval force activities in the Indian Ocean, serious attention must be paid to the issues of exactly how such activity is to be limited, and how the Diet can meaningfully monitor compliance with such limitations.
Oct 8, 2007
Japan's Antiterrorism Special Measures Law and confusion over U.N. authority
Once again there is political debate over military-related legislation under the shadow of Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, and once again it has revealed confusion over the international law and constitutional issues involved. The debate is over the extension of the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law (ATSML), which is the legal authority under which the Maritime SDF (MSDF) is providing logistical and intelligence support in the Indian Ocean for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) operations in Afghanistan.
Aug 30, 2007
Collective self-defense and collective security: what the differences mean for Japan
As the debate in Japan heats up over whether and how to amend Article 9 of the Constitution, the terms "collective self-defense" and "collective security" are often used in the same breath, almost as though they were synonymous. Often the terms are avoided altogether. The 2007 Defense White Paper uses only the ambiguous and legally meaningless term "international peace cooperation activities."
Apr 29, 2007
Who will defend Japan's Constitution?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced at the beginning of April that the government was establishing a "panel of experts" to examine the question of whether to "revise the current interpretation of the Constitution," in order to permit Japan to engage in collective self-defense activities.


Later this month, author Shogo Imamura will open Honmaru, a bookstore that allows other businesses to rent its shelves. It's part of a wave of ideas Japanese booksellers are trying to compete with online spaces.
The story isn't over for Japan's bookstores