However, half of the Japanese do not want a new upsurge of militarism in their country.
Despite the propaganda of the “increasing military danger for Japan” in connection with the conduct of a special military operation by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine and the “imminent capture of Taiwan by China”, as well as the threat to the Land of the Rising Sun from the DPRK, half of the Japanese population does not want to abandon the pacifism of the post-war constitution. Such data was obtained from the results of a survey conducted by the Kyodo Tsushin news agency on the eve of the Japanese Constitution Day celebrated on May 3.
The agency found out the attitude of the population towards the plans of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the government to remove the pacifist Article 9 from the Basic Law and, above all, to cross out the state’s refusal to possess the armed forces. The ruling circles insist on giving legitimacy to the self-defense forces created in violation of the constitution, which, in terms of power and funds allocated for their maintenance, occupy 5-6th place among the armies of the world.
Recall the content of the 9th article of the Constitution of Japan: “Sincerely striving for international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as the sovereign right of the nation, and the threat or use of armed force as a means of settling international disputes.
Land, sea and air forces, as well as other means of war, will never again be created to achieve the goal indicated in the previous paragraph. The right to wage war by the state is not recognized.”
The role of the Japanese Constitution as a symbol in the struggle to prevent a new war is recognized by the world community. One of the confirmations of this was the nomination in 2014 of the 9th article of the Constitution of Japan for the Nobel Peace Prize.
It is believed that the constitution was drawn up and forced on the Japanese by the Americans who occupied the country. To a certain extent this is so. However, in those years, the Japanese, who suffered from wars, perceived the anti-war constitution as a blessing, a guarantee against a return to the times of militarism and the nationalist doctrine of Japanism close to fascism. Of course, there were also revanchists who thought about restoring Japan as a powerful military power. However, the mood among the people in those years was not in their favor – the anti-war movement was growing in the country, protests against Japan’s involvement in the war in Korea, then in Vietnam, against the transformation of the Japanese islands into an “unsinkable aircraft carrier” of the United States. Yes, and the Americans, who remembered militaristic Japan, agreed only to a limited restoration of the army of the country they occupied. However, times are changing – today, among the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun, there are more and more of those who absorb nationalist rhetoric, demand that the government acquire nuclear weapons and, together with the United States, “resolutely confront enemies.”
Yet there remain significant forces in Japan that oppose the resurgence of militarism. The data of the Kyodo Chushin poll showed that the nation was divided in two on the issue of changing the constitution: 50% of those polled were in favor of the amendments, 48% were against. 70 percent of those polled did not agree that the increase in military tension in the world is a sufficient reason for changing the constitution.
The large number of supporters of changing the Basic Law is explained by the tricks of the government, which is trying to convince the population that it is only a matter of consolidating the fact that the Self-Defense Forces have become “conventional armed forces.” The authorities are convincing the people that they are not striving for a complete rejection of Article 9, but only for giving legitimacy to the armed forces.
An ardent supporter of the removal of restrictions on offensive military policy from the Japanese Constitution, the former Prime Minister, and now the head of the largest faction in the LDP, Shinzo Abe, stated that Article 9 of the constitution should preserve peaceful principles, but the status of the Self-Defense Forces should be prescribed in the Basic Law, which de enjoy the trust of more than 90% of the population. However, the Prime Minister is disingenuous, not saying that the majority of Japanese people approvingly judge the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, referring to their use to eliminate the consequences of natural disasters that are frequent in Japan. The Japanese army is often perceived by the population as similar to the forces of the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. As for sending the Self-Defense Forces abroad to participate in hostilities, a much smaller number of Japanese agree with this.
The reconstruction of the armed forces in the country, not only de facto, but also de jure, has an important economic goal: the peaceful products of Japanese manufacturers, which are losing competitiveness, can hardly keep the huge economic ship afloat. Among the captains of large Japanese business, the idea has long been nurtured to fully recreate the military-industrial complex in the country. After the armed forces are recognized as constitutional, the militarization of the economy will go much faster, this process has already begun. Under the constitution and legislation, Japan previously did not have the right to export weapons. Now this ban has been lifted under the Abe cabinet, it has become possible to trade in weapons. And technologically advanced Japan can find its niche in this trade. True, the United States will allow Japan to expand the arms trade only in moderation, as long as this does not create a threat to the Americans themselves.
The development of new branches of the Japanese military industry, such as aircraft manufacturing, is also not beneficial for the Americans. Now the Japanese are forced to equip their Air Force with American aircraft. While President Trump has urged the Japanese government to rely less on the US and take more care of its own security, whether American arms suppliers will agree to this is not known. The Americans would like to see Japan as a design bureau developing the latest weapons for the benefit of the United States. Recently, there have been reports that the Americans are seeking to use the scientific and technical potential of Japan to create hypersonic missile weapons.
Shinzo Abe, as prime minister, set the task of achieving a revision of the constitution by 2020-2021. Failed. So far, the current Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, who is no less than Abe a supporter of lifting all constitutional restrictions on turning Japan into a powerful military power, has not succeeded so far. The guaranteed two-thirds of the votes in both chambers of the Japanese Parliament, necessary for a decision to hold a national referendum on changing the constitution, has not yet been collected. And the split in public opinion does not allow the government to count on a landslide victory in the referendum.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida rides a tank during a visit to the Asaka Ground Self-Defense Force base between Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture, November 27, 2021.
With the emasculated Article 9 of the constitution, the Japanese government continues on the path of building up the armed forces, doubling military spending, involving the United States in its military strategy, creating a new classified National Security Strategy and a medium-term defense strengthening program.
P.With. Rally in support of the 9th “peaceful» articles of the country’s constitution, according to which Japan renounces the possession of an army and war as a means of resolving international conflicts, was held on May 3 in the center of Osaka, one of the largest metropolitan areas in Japan, a correspondent said. RIA News. The participants of the rally against the revision of the constitution held posters with calls for peace, cessation of hostilities in Ukraine and prevention of changes to Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
Header photo: Politobzor
If you notice a mistake in the text, highlight it and press Ctrl+Enter to send the information to the editor.