24 June 2017

News Story: LDP's 'springboard' draft Constitution specifies SDF in Article 9

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s "springboard" draft that will serve as a starting point for amendments to the war-renouncing Japanese Constitution, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his intent to put into effect in the year 2020, has been revealed.

The revelations came on June 21, following reports of a video message from the prime minister presented to a group calling for constitutional revision on May 3 saying he wanted the Self-Defense Forces (SDF)'s existence to be specified in Article 9, in addition to the two paragraphs that are already in place.

The LDP leadership's plan is to define the SDF in the second paragraph of Article 9 as "an organization using the bare minimum of force necessary to protect the state," and to explicitly mention that the first paragraph, which currently reads, "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes," must not be interpreted as a prohibition of the existence of the SDF, and to use this as a pillar in its debate on constitutional revision.

Some say, however, that such a proposal is inconsistent with the second paragraph of Article 9 -- which reads, "in order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained" -- as well as with the LDP's 2012 draft Constitution, signaling a rocky road ahead in the debate on constitutional amendments. A draft is set to be completed as early as September.

Read the full story at The Mainichi