Japan PM vows end to Article 9

By Liu Yunlong Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-16 23:33:01

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would continue to promote the revision of the war-renouncing Article 9 in Japan's constitution.

"We are going to revise Article 9 and make the task and role of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) clearer. That is the right attitude," said Abe, stressing it is necessary to define the forces as a national army, the Kyodo News Agency reported.

Abe set revising the "Peace Constitution" as part of his political agenda when he first took office in 2006. The proposal was then shelved after he was forced to resign following a series of scandals among his cabinet ministers, before being re-elected as prime minister in December 2012.

Article 9, seen as the core of the post-war "Peace Constitution," rules that the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes and land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential will never be maintained.

The LDP produced a draft in March, suggesting Article 9, among others, be repealed and a defensive army be built.

"People in Japan are clear about activities and missions of the JSDF and there is no necessity to announce it to be an army," Makoto Koga, a former LDP secretary-general, told Kyodo News Agency, adding that the "Peace Constitution" is the base of Japan's success and the Article 9 should be cherished as important as world heritage.

"This article exists to limit military force after World War II, avoiding Japan invading other countries again," Liu Junhong, a researcher with the Chinese Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times. "The dangerous thing is that Japan hasn't faced up to history, which raises concerns from its neighboring countries."

"It won't be easy for Abe to revise the constitution amid great disputes in the country," said Liu, adding that most Japanese people don't support it.

The reason why Japan hypes the "China threat" in recent years is because it is looking for excuses to repeal Article 9 and expand its military power, Liu noted.

"For a long time, Japan has wanted to be a 'normal country' with an army, unshackling the fetters the war imposed on it," Wang Pin, a researcher on Japanese studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times, adding that Abe's efforts to push the revision come from nationalism.

The timing of the proposal, which comes during the Upper House elections, also shows the LDP's determination of winning support from right-wing groups, said Wang, adding that while Japanese politics is turning to the right, society as a whole remains moderate.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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