Abe’s Constitutional Change

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by Momoka Asada

The current Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has proposed changing the Japanese constitution. One of the reasons for his proposal is to increase Japanese self-defence. Though there is opposition to this change, many agree with this change. Some people agree to this change because self-defence is necessary to protect Japan. They think that Japan should defend itself. Another reason for supporting with Abe’s constitutional change is that it could strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Japan. If Japan increases their self-defence, American people might interpret that Japan will help them. In addition, some Japanese people think that the changes will not lead Japan to take part in a war. Many people are afraid of Japan’s participation in a war by this change, but on the other hand, they claim there is no possibility that Japan goes to a war. On the contrary, I oppose his constitutional proposal. There are three reasons to oppose Abe’s constitutional change: the change is not democratic, the changes may threaten peace and security of Japan, and the changes are happening too fast.

First, Japanese people oppose Abe’s constitutional change because it is not democratic. Generally, to amend the constitution is a serious matter for all nations. Therefore, a government should take into account the opinions of the citizens who make up the nation. In spite of this, it seems that Prime Minister Abe doesn’t care about the national opinions. He “dictate a radical change to the meaning of fundamental principles in the Constitution by way of Cabinet fiat, with no Diet debate or vote, and no public approval.” Because of that, it is natural that many Japanese people are angered by him (“Reinterpreting” np). That is why there are many people who are against this constitutional change. According to the opinion poll by Kyodo News, “55.1 percent of respondents do not support Abe’s defense and security policies” (“55% do not support Abe”). This result shows the majority of Japanese people are opposed to Prime Minister Abe’s constitutional change. Consequently, it can be concluded that his proposal is not democratic.

Another common reason for opposing to Prime Minister Abe’s constitutional change is that it may threaten peace and security. If Japan increases their self-defense, North Korea or China could get angry. Although Abe claims that there is no possibility that Japan will participate in any wars, other countries, such as North Korea or China, might think that Japan thoroughly prepares for waging war (“What Japan’s military shift means” np). In addition, because of their anti-Japanese feeling, they may make an attack on Japan. There is danger of the deterioration of the relationship between Japan and Asian countries. However, it is not only Asian countries but other countries. For example, if Japan increases their military, U.S. might think Japan will help them because Japan and U.S. are allied nations. According to the Japan Times, the U.S. is in trouble with Afghanistan or Iraq. If Japan supports the U.S., it would help them succeed in their military efforts (“LDP” np). In summary, there is a danger that Japan will take up arms against other countries. Though Prime Minister Abe argues his constitutional change will bring about peace, it could have the opposite effect to what is intended.

Finally, some people think that changes are happening too quickly. Article 9, which Prime Minister Abe wants to change was promulgated in 1946 and the Japanese people have observed the article for a long while. Therefore many people feel insecure about this article being changed. According to the poll by the Asahi Shinbun, more than 60 percent of voters are opposed to change Article 9 (“Asahi poll” np). In addition, there are too many people who do not understand about self-defense well. To change the constitution, it is necessary for nations to understand more about the content of the change. Many people do not understand about self-defense yet, so Japanese government should try to explain it to other nations in detail and clearly. Thus Prime Minister Abe should not decide about this constitutional change so soon. He needs to consider more deeply.

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