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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s putsch involves bypassing constitutional procedures to revise the Constitution because he lacks sufficient support to win two-thirds approval in both houses of the Diet and a majority in a national referendum. Instead, Abe achieved by diktat what he could not gain democratically, asserting a Cabinet reinterpretation of Article 9 that allows for collective self-defense.

Is this what Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso meant last summer when he suggested it was important to learn from the sly manner of the Nazis when they overturned the Weimar Constitution? Regardless, on July 1, 2014, with the stroke of a pen Japan’s postwar pacifist order was overturned, marking a major shift in national defense policy.

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