Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to continue to press for Cabinet approval of a "reinterpretation" of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan. His goal is to relax the constitutional prohibition on Japan's use of force for purposes of engaging in collective self-defense actions and participating in United Nations collective security operations. There may be good reasons for Japan to consider relaxing the constraints of Article 9, but this so-called reinterpretation is entirely illegitimate and poses dangers to Japan's democracy.

To be clear on what this so-called re-interpretation means, the prime minister is seeking to circumvent the constitutional amendment procedure mandated by the Constitution itself, and to dictate a radical change to the meaning of fundamental principles in the Constitution by way of Cabinet fiat, with no Diet debate or vote, and no public approval.

The very process violates fundamental principles of constitutionalism and the rule of law, while the substance of the proposed reinterpretation does further violence to these principles.