Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Japan's Intelligentsia Stand Up for Constitutionalism

Scholars against security laws launch association to 'take back constitutional politics' The Mainichi, January 20, 2016, group of intellectuals including constitutional scholars who have raised voice against the government-sponsored security-related legislation launched the "association of people's movement to take back constitutional politics" on Jan. 19, the four-month anniversary of the passage of the controversial legislation.... 

representatives of the association held a news conference on Jan. 19 and released a statement, saying, "The forcible passage of the security-related legislation represented a runaway democracy that denied constitutionalism." 
Here is some background:

The LDP has pursued aggressive measures to remove limits for military deployments posed by the post-World War II constitution. In particular, the LDP wants to re-interpret the constitution to allow self-defense, conceived broadly to include direct participation in allies’ overseas military operations.

In July of 2015, the LDP successfully pushed through Japan’s lower house of parliament a collection of bills allowing Japan’s Self-Defense Forces to defend an ally under attack.[i] As expected, the bill passed Japan’s upper chamber, which is controlled by the LDP. Changes to Japan’s pacifist principles are not popular domestically and suspicion runs deep that US influence is responsible for pressuring expansion of Japan’s self-defense forces in the context of rising tensions with China and Russia.

In August 2015, a member of Japan’s communist party leaked a document of an exchange between Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) Joint Staff and US military officials that allegedly “predicted” that the controversial security bills would be enacted by the summer of 2015.”[ii]

The Defense Ministry denied the document existed, but revisions of interpretation of constitutional law and practice, in conjunction with rising state secrecy, point to rising authoritarianism and militancy in LDP leadership that is perceived by the public to be closely linked to American military power.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reinforced public concerns when failing to mention during his August 2015 Hiroshima memorial speech Japan’s three non-nuclear principles, although subsequently Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga clarified that: “(Maintaining) the three nonnuclear principles is a matter of course. It’s unshaken.”[iii]

Although Japan’s LDP may presently retain commitment to non-nuclear weapons, it has simultaneously retained commitments to the catastrophic health, economic and ecological risks of nuclear power in a geologically active zone, while amplifying those risks by expansion of production and utilization of MOX fuel. Most troubling of all, however, is the failure by the LDP to acknowledge and mitigate the catastrophic assault against life posed by Japan’s radioactive water problems.

[i] Kiyoshi Takenaka and Linda Sieg, “Huge Protest in Tokyo Rails Against PM Abe's Security Bills,” Reuters, August 30, 2015, accessed September 8, 2015,

[ii] “Defense Ministry Denies Document Suggesting SDF Promised Security Legislation to U.S.,” The Mainichi, September 8, 2015, accessed September 8, 2015,

[iii] Reiji Yoshida, “Exclusion of Nonnuclear Principles from Abe’s Hiroshima Speech Causes Stir,” The Japan Times, August 6, 2015, accessed August 8, 2015,


  1. Sorry but, I cannot be hopeful. Not after what I saw from what the republicans did in Ohio in 2004. Having seen what PRI has done in Mexico and what is happening in Japan.

    Neoliberal corporate parties that are toadies of the neoliberal american-oligarch elites rig elections. In Ohio in 2004 and 2000 for that matter it was a combination of no verifiable voting trail, Diebold rigged machines for the most part, and strategically places hack holes in microsoft windows.

    Probably similar electronic and vote rigging is done in Japan. In Mexico they just buy votes and change vote talleys per precinct to insure the neoliberal centrists or right wingers win.

    Two ohio officials indicted in ohio for vote rigging in 2004

    Citizens united goes a long way too

    1. Didn't know about Diebold in Ohio but not surprised given its alleged role in Florida.

      I still think public apathy allows corruption to thrive and that more public activism could make a difference.


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