I usually avoid controversial issues by choice in this blog. But just sometimes... There is much debate in the press and political circles in Japan at present in relation to amending the pacifistic constitution foisted on the country at the end of the war by the MacArthur administration. The concern is that its limitations include the restriction to protect itself or its allies in the event of war and given the changes brought on by the modern world, this is seen as a critical weakness. But this is only half the story.
Firstly, the government at the time had several attempts at writing a constitution but given the multiple drafts insistence on the Emperor effectively ruling by divine right and women being more or less subservient to men, these weren't seen as appropriate. Hence the MacArthur draft based on the British constitutional democracy format. The second issue here is that the document contains the following Article considered to be the nexus of the issue:
|ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, 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. (2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.|
A worthy objective indeed. The only problem is that Japan currently has one of the largest military budgets in the world and, for example, whereas the UK has five destroyer class warships, Japan already has twenty six. An outstanding example of the Barbara Streisand effect if ever there was one; the more you try to hide something, the more that people will look. The government could have its cake and eat it by adopting change and being open about it. Currently though it's arguing for an empty plate. Make the chance, be open and honest about it and less tidy up this small $50bn constitutional breach once and for all.
|The unarmed forces of Japan|