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Monday, Nov. 26, 2012

EDITORIAL

The LDP's hawkish stance

The campaign pledges announced last Wednesday by the Liberal Democratic Party for the Dec. 16 Lower House election clearly show a hawkish stance. The LDP, under its leader Shinzo Abe, calls for revising the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution to create the National Defense Forces and for changing a long-standing government constitutional interpretation, thus making it possible for Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

The pledges will not only destroy the international community's trust in Japan, which the country has built up in the postwar years through diplomatic and other efforts by following the spirit of the war-renouncing Constitution, but also lead to increased tension in Northeast Asia, thus greatly harming Japan's overall security and national interests. Some so-called third-pole parties also made similar pledges.

Although the LDP has made election promises in many other fields, including in the restoration from the effects of the 3/11 triple disasters as well as in economics, education and social welfare, voters should not forget the LDP's stance on constitutional matters when casting their ballots.

The LDP's proposal for revision of Article 9 of the Constitution and changing the government's traditional negative stance on the right to collective self-defense will greatly change the basic posture of the Japanese state.

Strengthening military-oriented approaches through revision of Article 9, as proposed by the LDP, would not help enhance Japan's security. It would only invite strong reaction from neighboring countries, especially China, and cause them and perhaps the whole international community to be suspicious of Japan's true intentions. It could lead to a fierce arms race in Northeast Asia, thus destabilizing relations in the region.

Such a revision of Article 9 would also likely be regarded by neighboring countries as an attempt to whitewash Japan's past military aggression and would negatively impact Japan's standing in the international community.

Attention also must be paid to the fact that the long-standing government's interpretation that the Constitution prohibits Japan from exercising the right to collective self-defense has spared Japan from becoming involved in military conflict that is far away from Japan and not directly related to its affairs.

Exercising the right to collective self-defense would open the way for Japan's involvement in such military conflict, unnecessarily putting Japanese nationals in harm's way.

Currently a constitutional revision requires approval by two-thirds of the lawmakers in each Diet chamber, followed by a national referendum on the proposal. In an attempt to eventually realize a revision of Article 9, Mr. Abe urges easing the Diet approval requirement to half of Diet members by changing Article 96 of the Constitution.

It is imperative for voters to keep in mind that the LDP's campaign pledges include an element that would destroy the long-cherished no-war principle of Japan.



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