Constitutional change necessary to protect Japanese citizens: Abe


After being unable to save two hostages held by Middle Eastern extremists, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said constitutional change will be needed to protect the lives and assets of Japanese citizens.

Abe has said at times that with the current interpretation of Article 9, which forbids both the use of force to settle international disputes and the maintenance of regular armed forces, it is difficult to protect Japanese citizens in a changing security environment.

“The Liberal Democratic Party has already presented a draft amendment to Article 9, and amending it is to carry out our duty of protecting the lives and assets of Japanese citizens,” Abe told the Upper House Budget Committee on Tuesday.

He made the remarks in response to a suggestion by Masamune Wada of the Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations) that Article 9 should be amended to enable the Self-Defense Forces to rescue Japanese being held abroad.

“We should think about what to do with Article 9 as we may face various situations in the future,” Abe said.

The Islamic State militant group recently killed two Japanese men after holding them hostage, igniting debate over Japan’s crisis management against terrorists.

Abe has voiced his intention to amend the Constitution while in office, calling it the LDP’s long-held goal since it was founded in 1955.

The war-renouncing Constitution was drafted by the United States during the Occupation after World War II ended in 1945.

Last July, Abe’s Cabinet approved a major overhaul in national security policy, allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense by reinterpreting the Constitution, or defend an ally under armed attack even when Japan itself is not.

  • timefox

    A constitution isn’t a god. Doubt a constitution. Don’t be confused by nonsense of a constitution believer.

    9 articles of constitution couldn’t stop a Korean invasion. 9 articles of constitution is superstition to protect Japanese from killing. See Takeshima! See defeat of 9 articles of constitution!

    • Bruce Chatwin

      Don’t be confused by the nonsense of a uyoku dantai.
      If the constitution is to be amended, a 2/3 majority vote in favour in both the upper house and lower house plus a majority vote in a referendum is currently required. Abe and the LDP want to change the requirement for the upper and lower houses to a simple majority. While this would make it easier to make some good amendments to the constitution, it would also make it possible to make some equally bad (or worse) amendments.
      The US constitution has similar conditions attached to amending it, yet it has been amended 27 times since it came into effect. Likewise, other countries with similar restrictions to constitutional amendment have made changes to their constitutions.

  • 80CharlieGriffith

    That’s a very strange headline in English. Something lost in translation?
    These Muslim terrorists couldn’t care less about what’s stipulated by any nation’s constitution.
    Muslims’ justification for all of their throat-slitting and beheading comes from their reading of their Koran. It has nothing to do with observing any nation’s mere constitution.

  • rick jones

    Without taking a stand one way or the other on the question of the proposed changes, as the Japanese consider amending their constitution in response to acts of terror, I hope they keep the US Patriot Act and the Law of Unintended Consequences in mind.

    • Merchant Mmo

      Oh if only the ISIS didnt give more reason for the former-old-evil-axis-power-now-turned-U.S.ally to waken? Sounds like plot from a cartoon.

      • zayahv2

        Sounds like bs from people who want to see japan kept down.

  • Dharmendra Bihari

    Japan must take her rightful place in this world.
    No more apologies to nations whose record is hundreds of time worse than that of Japan.

    • andyoo

      really? what rightful place do they have except on their own island?
      I know japan want to protect citizen. on the other hand, they can use that for excuses to invade others in future. There is always no absolute.
      Didn’t india got invaded by Japan before? It didn’t invade middle east…
      Anyway, reporters should not be in war zone. especially middle east, where they see reporters as enemy . They go there on purpose, they know the risk they are taking.

      • Merchant Mmo

        By your logic every and all reporters should stay away from the war zone or their death is rightly justified. The end result is either lack of info on how bad a situation is somewhere which is pretty darn stupid.
        Japan is not going to invade anybody. The only country that is stupidly paranoid about something like that is the communists.

      • Jeffrey

        “. . . communists”? I hope you are referring to N. Korea as the PRC ceased being a communist regime about four premiers ago.

      • Merchant Mmo

        Oh yes and china, we musn’t forget good ol’ china getting ready for the japanese zombie apocalypse invasion.

      • zayahv2

        Every country can use BS excuses to invade another country your argument isn’t even sound. Look at us here in the US. How many countries have we invaded? Heck we even once though of invading Canada. The only thing that should be done is to make sure that it is HARD to declare war rather then giving the power solely to one person or current political party in charge that’s all.

  • BalramRules

    Japan has the right to protect herself. I agree with Abe here, post-WWII, Japan has been a very responsible and sensible nation. An especially exemplary nation. Article 9 needs a rework, if not a simple abolishment.

    • Jeffrey

      Attending to the abduction and murder of citizens in a war zone is not the same as Japan being able to protect itself, which, quite frankly, it’s not up to doing unless it was Guam attacking.

      “Protecting the nation” is the same sort of idiotic and openly dishonest “rationale” that the Bush administration used to invade Iraq, which is directly responsible for what has happened at the hands of ISIL, and allowed our less-than Congress to pass the Patriot Act (mostly unread by those voting on it) and the creation of the TSA.

      Post-WWII Japan is a mostly responsible and mostly sensible nation in great part because of it’s security relationship with the U.S. Ditto for S. Korea.

      Now, were Japan to have spent the last 60 years or so repeatedly and sincerely denouncing what it had become and what had been done in its emperor’s name beginning with the “annexation” Korea in 1910 and up through the end of WWII, as has Germany, then one might be able to argue that Japan can become a “normal nation” and, if it so desired, take a role in “peace keeping.” Though I’m convinced after living in a nation that has been at war to one degree or another most of the last 56 years that they are better off with their meager defensive capabilities as long as they are willing to accept the protection of my country and it’s obscenely large military.

      • 80CharlieGriffith

        You’re mixing too many apples, oranges and other stuff here. You mustn’t shuffle around Asian and American situations that are in no way applicable. We’re simply not “wired” the same way.

  • disappointed

    what a timing… did he let them die to make this point…? very convenient…

  • There is no question that constitutionalism is a context-dropping, dogmatic provision arising from the West’s unsavory religious righteousness. That said, I would be equally uncomfortable with the West’s (including Japan’s) moves towards collectivist tyranny; where privileged eminent people (PEPs) decide the fate of society simply because they are ’eminent’. A pretense of public consultation just does not wash. Reason has to be the standard of value. The courts, as political appointees, are hardly effective custodians of the public interest when they are predisposed to accept the ‘will of the mob’ or the propensity of the PEPs to determine what they are saying. Each alternative is untenable.

  • Frank C

    All seems like kabuki theatrics for a war obsessed PM to have his way.

  • A new proposed article to the Japanese Constitution has been in the LDP Constitutional Amendment draft proposal for a long time now, way before this incident occurred. The proposed new article is separate from Article 9 and its proposed amendments, and does not specify how the J-national is to be helped (militarily, financially, etc.). The latest draft reads as follows:


    [unofficial translation]

    (Protection of Japanese nationals outside of Japan)
    Article 25:3
    The State of Japan shall endeavor to protect Japanese nationals residing outside of Japan during states of emergency occurring outside of Japan.

    The LDP’s proposed amendment is not novel or unique compared to other countries. Most other countries have laws or provisions that require the government to come to the aid of its citizens in bad situations overseas. Canada, for example, evacuated Canadian citizens from Lebanon during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

  • zayahv2

    The only valid argument is that Japanese people question too little and obey orders from their superiors blindly. Its a cultural thing but it can lead to atrocities much more easily. That said I think collective self defense is a good start and if Japan chooses to part with 9 completely it should be incredibly hard to declare war or use military force outside the grounds of self defense.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    And the fact still remains, that the likelihood of the rescue of hostages in far-flung places, requires the pre-positioning of forces, in appropriate strength, and at the desired level of readiness. In other words, a permanent overseas posting for a highly mobile, well-trained commando force. Calling up, and dispatching troops from Japan would not succeed.

    • Jeffrey

      Exactly. And even when you have these capabilities there is no guarantee of success. It took the Obama administration six years to find bin Laden (I’m convinced Shrub had little interest in looking for him not long after Tora Bora). If simply having the constitutional right was all that was required, U.S. Special Forces and the SAS would have freed all the hostages long ago.

  • Jeffrey

    Just how are comparing Japan and Palestine? You don’t elaborate. Japan has been a nation state for nearly 2,000 years and “modern” Palestine was a post-Ottoman Empire European construct that lasted only about 30 years.

    “Terrorist actions . . . two sides – China & ISIS”? Has Beijing sent suicide bombers to Japan because I know ISIS hasn’t. The two Japanese killed were kidnapped in a war zone, not Nishi Azabu.

    “Responsible Public (sic) & Governments worldwide are supportive of Abe’s line of thinking”? Really? I can think of a number of Asian neighbors who see him as belligerent and the American, Canadian and British press don’t pay him or Japan much attention at all outside of his being the PM and his obligation to sound tough. The attitude is one of abhorence to what happened to Goto and Yukawa, but there is certainly no debate occuring in the West about the status of Japan’s military.

    “. . . terrorism will affect the very existence of the world.” Not really. In fact only if Japan decides, foolishly, to involve itself in the current mess that U.S., primarily, caused in the ME, would this further affect Japan. The two Japanese victims of ISIL’s barbarism with targets of opportunity, particularly Yukawa, who had no business being there. Goto was, right or wrong under the circumstances, doing his job. Reading anything more into this is ridiculous.

  • Paul Johnny Lynn

    Thanks for that link, very interesting indeed, especially the announcement of expansion to “protect” Japanese nationals and timing of it. Depending on which source you read, Japan is already in the top 10 for annual military expenditure. Any increase would surely rile the neighbours, and not sit well with the electorate.

  • tisho

    wow, just wow. I predicted him saying the exact same words ! Go back and read my comment again ! Everything i predicted is happening.

  • Viva75

    We agree then

  • Bruce Chatwin

    I think that China and most of the other “communist” states are better described as one party totalitarian states. I agree that it’s irrelevant what people classify them as, they’re still loathsome.