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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Conservative group wages war on Article 9


Staff writer

The war-renouncing clause to the Constitution is a threat to national security that leaves Japan vulnerable to foreign invasion and cyber-attacks and should be revised as soon as possible, a conservative citizens' group said Wednesday.

Article 9 is flawed because it prevents Japan from fighting back unless it is under direct attack from an enemy force, journalist Yoshiko Sakurai, the leader of Minkan Kenpo Rincho, said at a news conference in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

The group, whose name means citizens' constitution policy group, has about 180 members, including academics, journalists and business leaders.

Sakurai argued that such a "strictly defensive national security policy" makes Japan a potential battlefield and thus endangers the lives of its people.

"Japan's strictly defensive national security policy is based on the assumption that the people's lives will be sacrificed, but if (Japan) were truly to protect its people, battles should be fought outside of Japan," Sakurai said. "There is no other constitutional (clause) like Article 9 that neglects the need to protect the lives of the people."

In addition to the threat of high-tech weaponry in the hands of enemies, Japan must also be prepared to wage cyberwars, Sakurai said.

Last fall, the government revealed that members of the Upper and Lower houses, various ministries including the Foreign Ministry and its overseas diplomatic missions, as well as major defense contractors were hit by cyber-attacks.

"Maintaining the defense-only policy in a cyberwar means a complete defeat," Sakurai said. "We must become conscious about how widely and deeply the Constitution affects the foundation of Japan. That is why we need to revise the Constitution and Article 9 — to protect Japan, its people, and our safe and peaceful lives."

Thursday marks the 65th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution, which was drafted during the Allied Occupation.

Minkan Kenpo Rincho plans to host a forum Thursday afternoon with lawmakers from four political parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party. Some political parties including the conservative LDP announced their revision drafts last week.

However, some lawmakers remain firmly opposed to changing the Constitution, particularly Article 9.

According to Article 96 of the Constitution, a proposed constitutional amendment must pass both chambers by a two-thirds majority before it can be put to a national referendum.

A nonpartisan group of lawmakers advocating revision wants to lower the threshold to a simple majority to make it easier to pass amendments.

Minkan Kenpo Rincho members, meanwhile, are calling for a three-fifths majority.



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