Tuesday, November 22, 2005

New Constitution in Japan?



LDP reveals plans to amend constitution and become less pacifistic.

November 22 is the birthday of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP), and this year it celebrates its 50th anniversary. PM Koizumi took the opportunity to propose a revision to the country's constitution by ending the ban on the military and allow for the military to be more active on the international stage. The change would require two-thirds of both legislative houses and a majority in a national referendum.

Now, is this good or bad? If history is the best judge, let's look at Japan's recent history. For the past 50 years, Japan has been one of the greatest donors of humanitarian aid, development, peacekeeping forces, and other benevolent undertakings. If we must judge someone by their actions in an appropriate time-frame, we must give Japan a chance acquiesce to a Japanese military. Although history doesn't forget, we must forgive.

On the other hand, is this the right time for such a bold act?

East Asian intramural relations are not exactly rollicking. Perhaps Japan must become better friends with Korea and China; the immediate neighbors. If not, these nations may judge the military buildup as a threat--and more tensions and distrust, we cannot have.
Perhaps the countries could become more involved in the ASEAN Regional Forum, 6-party, or the ASEAN +3 frameworks to solve their differences?

Or perhaps conflict is inevitable?

Nobody knows, but as long as these countries continue trading and doing business, I believe there is a greater chance of peace.

What do you think?

Relevant articles:
AP Article

2 comments:

Jonathan Dresner said...

It all depends....

Constitutions are funny documents: highly symbolic and yet highly symbolic. If they're not talking about changing any of the substantive sections, then it's window-dressing and ratification of existing extra-constitutional process. If they touch the governance sections, then they're playing with fire....

Changing the constitution's language on the Emperor or on article 9 won't really change anyone's mind or change the way things work. It will be a datum in the grand discourse, both internally and externally.

cookiesap on-line said...

As much as I agree with you, particularly on the window-dressing, I still think it is a step in the wrong direction for Japan, since its future increasingly will lie in the pattern/framework of East Asia. Japan has no true threat that would justify a more militaristic posture.

Why is Koizumi so hell-bent on teasing China?