WASHINGTON – After 70 years, Japan may finally be on the cusp of acquiring its own military. Legally, that is. Last month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated his desire to change the Constitution by 2020 to include a clause to give legal standing to the Self-Defense Forces. The revision, while historically controversial domestically, is long overdue.
Written in 1946 by the United States after Japan’s devastating defeat in World War II, the Constitution legally prohibits Japan from waging war and obtaining “war potential.” Article 9 — often referred to as the peace clause — renounces war as a sovereign right and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish this aim, the article specifies that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”
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