Japan security debate masks clash of views on pacifist constitution
Is Japan’s constitution a symbol of peace and respect for universal values or a reminder of humiliating defeat?
As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe rushes to push through unpopular legislation allowing broader use of Japan’s military, the heated security debate masks a deeper divide over the pacifist charter, drafted by U.S. Occupation officials after Japan’s World War Two defeat. Admirers view the constitution as the source of Japan’s peace, prosperity and democracy.
Many of Abe’s conservative backers, who have long wanted to rewrite the constitution but lacked the political means, view it as a shoddy document written, in the words of one commentary, “with malice and vengeance” to keep Japan forever subdued.
“If we keep the constitution GHQ (U.S. Occupation headquarters) gave to a defeated Japan, Japan will always remain a defeated country,” says a great-grandfather in a cartoon published recently by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to explain why the charter should be revised. Read more