Issue Brief

Abe’s New Vision for Japan’s Constitution

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has finally spoken up about revising Japan’s Constitution. In an one-on-one interview conducted by Yomiuri Shimbun on April 26, Abe spoke at length about his vision and timeline for constitutional revision. He also delivered a pre-recorded video message in which he articulated his determination for revising the Constitution at a gathering of Nippon Kaigi.

This is particularly newsworthy because Abe was specific in laying out his vision for the constitutional revision as well as the timetable he envisions. For instance, he clearly mentioned that he would seek to revise Article 9, which has been considered sacrosanct as the symbol of Japan’s postwar identity as a peace-loving nation. Although Abe was explicit in stating that he would keep the existing two clauses (which refer to Japan’s renunciation of war as a means to solve international conflict and its possession of armed forces), he announced that he would seek to add a third clause that would unambiguously legitimize the constitutional status of the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF). In addition, Abe also stated that the freedom of education will be prioritized. In terms of the timeline, he indicated his desire to put the revised Constitution into force by the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.

This article was originally published in The Diplomat on May 5, 2017. Read the full article here.

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