Long ago and far away

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Whither Japan?

Asia Times asks "Whither Japan?" here:
The current war-renouncing, pacifist constitution, drafted by the US occupation forces immediately after Japan's defeat in World War II, has never been altered. However, establishing a "self-imposed constitution" has been the LDP's credo since its 1955 founding, and the party has been in power almost uninterrupted during that period. It is the first time the LDP has proposed a new constitution in writing.

The LDP has almost completed its work on the draft constitution, and plans to adopt it on Friday ahead of the party convention on November 22 to mark its 50th anniversary.

The LDP draft calls for, among other things:

Rewriting Article 9 - the clause almost synonymous with Japan's post-war defense policy - to acknowledge clearly the existence of a "military for self-defense".
More active participation in international peace cooperation activities. The current constitution is widely interpreted as forbidding the possession of a military. Although, in reality, Japan has about 240,000 troops of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) and one of the world's biggest defense expenditures, successive governments have explained away the contradiction by claiming that SDF is not a military.
Setting a nationalistic tone, with its preamble containing references to the "love of the nation" as well as Japan's tradition, history and culture. All these elements are missing from the current constitution.

Momentum for revising the constitution, which took effect in 1947, has mounted following the September11 general election, in which Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's ruling LDP-led coalition won a landslide victory, garnering 327 seats - more than a two-thirds majority in the 480-seat Lower House.
Whatever Germany can do, Japan should be able to do. And, as far as I know, the restrictions on German's armed forces look nothing like the restrictions the Japanese have. Things change in 60 years...

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