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Renho discusses why the DP rejects Abe’s plan to amend Article 9

JIJI

Democratic Party leader Renho signaled the main opposition party’s rejection of a plan by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to revise Article 9 of the Constitution in order to provide a rationale for the existence of the Self-Defense Forces.

“If the Article 9 revision takes the currently defense-only SDF to a totally different stage, we can’t tolerate that,” she said in a recent interview.

Renho said the Abe administration maneuvered to make the country’s new national security laws compatible with the spirit of Article 9 while trampling on the conventional interpretation of the pacifist article.

To include explicitly the existence of the SDF in Article 9 would widen the range of interpretation of the article, possibly helping expand the scope of the military’s activities without limits, she warned. The security laws, enforced in March 2016, allow the nation to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

The first of the two paragraphs of Article 9 states that 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.” The second stipulates that Japan will never have “land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential.”

On the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s plan to submit its draft revision of the Constitution to the Diet within this year, Renho said, “We’re aiming for constitutional amendments led by the Japanese people, not a revision prepared by authorities.”

Renho thus emphasized the DP’s plan to carefully proceed with discussions on the issue of constitutional revisions through meetings it plans to kick off in August among party members, including those in local-level assemblies.

On relations with the Japanese Communist Party, Renho said, “The DP and the JCP basically have different philosophies about the Constitution.”