• Kyodo

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Yohei Kono, speaker of the House of Representatives, suggested Tuesday that Japan should maintain rather than revise the war-renouncing Constitution in its bid to gain a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

“Japan can choose to abandon its bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, and pursue its role as a U.N. member,” Kono said, warning against the growing calls at home and abroad for a revision of the Constitution.

His comments came after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said last week, “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article 9 would have be examined in that light.”

Kono said: “It is not appropriate to revise Article 9 because the United States urges us to do so. Is it wise to become a UNSC permanent member even by giving up the policies we have built up so far?”

Article 9, the centerpiece of the Constitution, stipulates “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

Kono is known as a leading dove among senior members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. He is currently an independent because of his position as Lower House speaker.

In 1994, Kono, then foreign minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, for the first time announced Japan’s bid to seek a permanent seat on the Security Council during an address to the United Nation’s general assembly.

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