04 May 2017

News Story: Japan PM unveils plan to amend Constitution, put into force in 2020

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday unveiled a plan to seek a first-ever change to the postwar Constitution, bidding to see the revision take effect in 2020, a specific time frame not publicly mentioned before.

In a video message to a gathering marking the 70th anniversary of the charter's coming into force, Abe, who is also head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, proposed making explicit the existence of the Self-Defense Forces in the language of the war-renouncing Constitution, which currently makes no mention of it.

Abe's remarks are likely to draw sharp responses from opposition forces that are against amending the Constitution, especially its Article 9, which stipulates that the Japanese people "forever renounce war" and that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained."

"By making explicit the status of the SDF in the Constitution during our generation's lifetime, we should leave no room for contending that (the SDF) may be unconstitutional," Abe said in the video message, delivered to an audience generally supportive of constitutional amendments.

Specifically, Abe proposed referring to the SDF in the Constitution while leaving untouched two paragraphs in Article 9, a change that "deserves popular debate," he said.

Read the full story at The Mainichi