Japanese PM Abe’s Pathetic “Article 9” Argument

Key point in this article:

  • Japanese PM Abe wants to add a provision on the Self-Defense Force of Article 9 of the Constitution in addition to keeping Clauses 1 and 2
  • This would officially prevent the Self-Defense Force from fighting
  • This is trickery used to try to win over both conservatives and leftists

A video message by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was revealed in Tokyo at the Constitution Memorial Day gathering of groups in support of the current Constitution. In it Abe announced that he will amend the Constitution before 2020, and the oft-debated Article 9 will keep Clauses 1 and 2 with an addition of a provision regarding the Self-Defense Force (SDF).

Amending Article 9 is a logical pursuit considering North Korea could target Japan with their missiles any day now. But Abe’s solution could render the SDF immobile, and end up setting in stone the Constitution’s philosophy of unconditional non-resistance.


A Self-Defense Force That Cannot Fight

Post WWII, the U.S. enforced Constitution stripped Japan of national defense power.

Article 9 has severely handicapped defense procedures, which was especially clear when Chinese fishing vessels entered the Senkaku Island sea territory, and also now as North Korea continues to launch missiles aimed at Japan.

With this Article, the country lost its underlying spirit of ‘protecting its citizens’. Conservatives have long warned of this glaring problem demanding a Constitutional amendment, placing their hopes on PM Abe. Abe’s recent announcement sparked high expectations, and yet if we look carefully the SDF’s immobility seems unchanged in his idea of ‘amendment’.

Indeed Abe’s intention to add a provision saying ‘the SDF is exempt from constitutionally prohibited military warfare’ will become an obstacle when the need arrives to state that ‘the SDF is an army that fights to protect its country’.

Unless we amend Clauses 1 and 2 of Article 9, the SDF will be unable to do any more than regular police can. They cannot strike against enemy bases on first signs of missile attacks, but have to wait until the weapon is actually launched. The SDF is questionably a ” self defense force” as in reality it is not allowed to fight.

This political nuance is pitiful. With no national right to engage in armed combat and no weapons to wield, the SDF will soon become a myth in the Constitution alongside national sovereignty.

If Abe does not realize that he is confusing ‘constitutional amendment’ with ‘constitutional interpretation’, he is severely lacking in legal mentality. If he knows what he has done, then he couldn’t have been more mocking of his people.


China and North Korea Would Welcome This Amendment

That being said, considering no previous administration ever dared to touch the Constitution, conservatives are sure to praise Abe on this note.

On the other hand, anti-amendment groups such as the Japanese Communist Party and The Democratic Party would be happy with his unaltered stance on the SDF. Since the people have high opinions of the SDF, political parties won’t oppose its name being written into the Constitution.

China and North Korea will probably not be opposed to Abe’s new “amendment” either, because the Constitution will retain its status as a semi-sovereign state with the absence of armed force and refusal to fight. In fact they would be delighted that Japan would finally set into stone its utter powerlessness against them.

Abe has used this characteristic vagueness before: in his 2015 Abe Statement he tried to ensnare both the right and left by coming to an obscure conclusion that neither side could oppose. We cannot be fooled by his deplorable politics.


Constitutional Amendment Is to Regain Sovereignty

Abe’s initial purpose for the Constitutional Amendment was to regain for Japan the right as a sovereign state — to possess an armed force to protect the country. This would end the post-war system that Japan has suffered under for so long.

But it seems that his amendment argument went from being that noble purpose, to just a means of maintaining his administrational power. If this next proposal is legislated, Article 9 will forever haunt Japan, and the post-war system will tighten its grip on the people like never before.

The only way for Japan to regain sovereignty is to state in the Constitution the right to possess an armed force that can engage in military combat if necessary to protect the country and its people.

In this sense many lives are at stake. If Abe is not prepared to put his life on the line to actually amend the Constitution, he ought to withdraw his statement immediately.

Japanese PM Abe’s Pathetic “Article 9” Argument
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