Japan remains polarized on reform of pacifist constitution: survey

Tokyo, May 2 (EFE).- Half of all respondents to a survey published Monday in Japan were in favor of reforming the pacifist article of the country’s constitution, showing that society remains polarized on the review pushed for by the ruling party.

A total of 50 percent of the 3,000 people consulted by Kyodo news were in favor of revising Article 9 of the constitution, according to which the country renounces war as a sovereign right and the use of force to resolve international disputes.

Of those polled, 48 percent were against an amendment, which is one of the political priorities of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with the aim of expanding national powers in defense matters.

The figures, released on the eve of Constitution Memorial Day on Tuesday, are almost the same as those of a poll carried out last year, which showed 51 percent support for a revision and 48 percent rejection.

Calls from the LDP to revise the constitution have intensified recently in the wake of China’s military aggression, North Korea’s continuing weapons launches, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Sunday, Kishida said in an interview with national broadcaster NHK that the constitution may have shortcomings and outdated elements after being in force for 75 years, and expressed hope that for progress in the discussions about its revision.

The LDP considers it necessary to clarify the renunciation of war established in Article 9, as well as of the powers of the Self-Defense Forces, as Japanese troops are called, since the constitution expressly prohibits the possession of military forces.

The legal framework was approved during the US occupation of Japan after its surrender at the end of World War II. It came into force in 1947 and has not been revised since.

To carry out constitutional reform, the support of two thirds of each chamber of parliament is necessary – a proportion that the ruling party would not reach on its own – followed by its ratification through a national referendum. EFE


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