Of all the supposed democracies in the world, Japan must be the top heaviest with its endless rules and regulations. Most of them are unnecessary, and many more may seem unbelievably petty to non-Japanese.

However, political rules are a different case. Without them, democracies devolve into despotism. Take an example from the world’s most famous democracy, America. The leader of that country cannot serve more than two terms.

The reason is obvious — to avoid autocracy.

Yet now the ruling party in Japan, which has held power with only minor interruptions since World War II, proposes extending the number of terms its leader can serve consecutively, and in this case, a leader who already served one term before the present two. That means Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s fourth.

Sound suspicious? It should.

The Japanese government is the biggest stickler for rules when it serves its own purpose, but is happy to bend the law and even “amend” it (a euphemism for breaking the law) any way it likes if it can squeeze out some advantage.

And this is the backdrop to its drive to tear up a pacifist Constitution which has helped to avoid World War III.

At the same time the Defense Ministry just requested ¥5.16 trillion because of “the threat of China” (“Defense budget request sets record” in the Aug. 20 edition). Yet it seems that Japan has actively encouraged animosity, possible even with the very object of applying for such an obscene amount of money. Why else appoint a provocative defense minister who publicly prays to Class-A war criminals?

This vast sum of money is to be spent on war-mongering instead of on real public safety to avoid mass murders like the rampage in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Japan’s miserly public spending on such social service systems (not to mention on truly democratic education) just paves the way for maximum mayhem both at home and abroad.

David John

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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