The buildup of public opinion against the Abe administration's security legislation indicates that not only the generations with firsthand experience of the war but also the younger generations have a strong attachment to the nation's postwar values symbolized by Article 9 of the Constitution.

After enacting the law that paves the way for Japan's exercise of the right to collective self-defense, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may seek to amend the Constitution, possibly making it a campaign issue for the Upper House election next year. However, changing Article 9 is politically impossible. If amending the Constitution is put on the political agenda, public opposition will likely be even more fierce than against the security legislation. I don't think the Abe administration, which has spent so much energy enacting the security bills, even at the expense of the sharp plunge in its popular approval ratings, will be able to embark on amending the Constitution next year.

The political process surrounding the security legislation highlighted a set of challenges for both the ruling coalition and the opposition camp. As far as the Liberal Democratic Party is concerned, that process exposed the lack of the party's ability to correct itself. Abe won, unopposed, another three-year term as LDP president. But his team at the secretariat of the prime minister's office reportedly applied pressure in various ways to contain a bid by the sole prospective contender, Seiko Noda, who explored the possibility of running against the incumbent until the final moment.