Japan today marks the 67th anniversary of the enforcement of its postwar Constitution under extraordinary circumstances: the moves of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe threaten the principles of constitutional democracy.
The administration in December had the Diet enact the state secrets law, which expands the scope of government secrets almost without limits and severely limits the people's right to know and their access to government information — the foundation of democracy. It is now trying to overturn the government's long-standing interpretation of the Constitution that bans the exercise of the right to collective self-defense by simply eliminating the interpretation rather than attempt to amend the Constitution itself.
Exercizing the right to collective self-defense would allow Japan to engage in military operations to defend allies under attack even when Japan itself is not under attack. This would run counter to the war-renouncing principle expressed in the Constitution's preamble and Article 9.