Post Reply Japan's pacifist charter at stake in Sunday parliamentary election
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23 / M / AZ
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Posted 7/9/16

Japan's pacifist charter at stake in Sunday parliamentary election

TOKYO — a major change in Japan’s post-World War II pacifist charter will be at stake Sunday, when voters go to the polls in a key parliamentary election.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition is expected to win more than half of the 121 seats up for grabs in the House of Councillors election. That would likely be enough to secure a two-thirds majority in both houses of Japan’s National Diet, the necessary threshold for amending the constitution.

Revising the constitution is a long-cherished goal of Japan's conservatives, who view the document as an unwelcome legacy of the post-war occupation by victorious American forces, who remain on Japanese soil to this day. A particular source of ire is Article 9, which “renounces” Japan’s right to go to war. Currently Japan can use its military only as a defense against attacks.

The constitution was adopted in 1946, a year after Japan's unconditional surrender, and enacted in 1947. It has not been changed since.

Abe has made no secret of his desire to revise the charter. His first term as prime minister in 2006-07 was cut short, in part, because of popular dissatisfaction with his attempts to ram through constitutional changes.

In the current campaign, which began last month, Abe has barely mentioned the issue, focusing instead on economic and social issues.

That’s not surprising. A recent poll by the mainstream Mainichi Shimbun newspaper found 45% of respondents were opposed to amending the constitution, compared to 36% in favor.

Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the Komeito Party, are expected to sweep the vote Sunday against a disorganized and dispirited opposition. Polls predicting a turnout of only about 50%, attesting to widespread voter apathy.

The LDP and Komeito currently hold more than two-thirds of the seats in the House of Representatives, the lower chamber.

A two-thirds “super majority” in the upper house appears in the cards as well. A poll this week by the conservative Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper shows the ruling coalition is likely to win at least a majority of the 121 seats contested Sunday. Along with votes from smaller parties that support revisions in the constitution, Abe's coalition would likely achieve a two-thirds majority.

Still, that is not enough to ensure a constitutional change.

In addition to a two-thirds vote in each house of the Diet, amending the constitution requires a majority vote of the public in a national referendum.

Convincing at least half the general public, as well as rebellious members of his own party, would take a lot of heavy lifting on Abe’s part, said Tobias Harris, a former Diet aide who is now a Japan specialist with Teneo Intelligence in Washington, D.C.

“It would be a mistake for Abe to think that a victory (Sunday) will be a ringing endorsement for him and his government,” said Harris. “He’ll no doubt try to spin it like that, but it won’t give him carte blanche.”

During an online debate among party leaders earlier this year, Abe said he intended to organize a constitutional commission after the upper house vote. If so, a full debate on the issue could be held during a special session of the Diet this fall.

Although Abe has not mentioned specific revisions, the LDP introduced a draft Constitution in 2012 with a pronounced conservative agenda, including reducing press freedoms and designating the emperor as the head of state. It would also impose new, nationalist-tinged legal requirements on citizens, such as showing “respect” for Japan’s rising-sun flag and Kimigayo, the national anthem.

A district court in Osaka this week refused to reverse a cut in salary imposed on a high school teacher for refusing to stand during the singing of the national anthem at her school’s graduation ceremony in 2013.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/07/08/japans-pacifist-charter-stake-sunday-parliamentary-election/86844796/

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Hoosierville
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Posted 7/9/16
Japan doesn't seem like much of a threat anymore. They should get rid of it.
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Posted 7/9/16

Rujikin wrote:

Japan doesn't seem like much of a threat anymore. They should get rid of it.


Isn't Japan like the third largest economy in the world? That can literally change overnight.

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Hoosierville
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Posted 7/9/16

MysticGon wrote:


Rujikin wrote:

Japan doesn't seem like much of a threat anymore. They should get rid of it.


Isn't Japan like the third largest economy in the world? That can literally change overnight.



Yeah but they are so busy acting weird that I don't see when they would have the time to deal with attacking someone.
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Rabbit Horse
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Posted 7/9/16 , edited 7/9/16
Abe is a radical right nationalist catering to far right.
I don't know what will happen if he is able to change the constitution, but i don't think it will be good with relation with China and S Korea, especially when Japan wants to claim S Korean and Chinese islands to themselves..
(edit to be clear: islands like Dokdo that belong to S Korea. China also have claims to certain islands which Japan disputes)
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47 / M / Memphis, TN
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Posted 7/9/16 , edited 7/9/16
They should change it already. Honestly, it should have changed with the end of the occupation. (And, no, US troops on designated bases do NOT constitute a continuing post-war occupation.) Every sovereign nation should be expected to protect its right to full self-rule.
jdyun2 
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M
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Posted 7/9/16
It appears the US wants to delegate more to Japan on the East Asian front, but none of Japan's neighbors have a good relationship with it. And that probably won't change unless Japan becomes less influential than it's neighbors, forcing it to act like less of an ass.
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30 / M / UK
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Posted 7/11/16
Suppose I'd better practice building bridges.
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