On March 5 the Hokkaido Shinbun ran the following article based on an interview conducted in Kansas in February, on the issues surrounding the so-called “reinterpretation” and possible amendment of Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan.
In a recent article in the Diplomat, Michael Green and Jeffrey Hornung claimed that critics of the Abe government’s “reinterpretation” of Japan’s constitution, to end the ban on the use of force for the purposes of collective self-defense, were “basing their opposition on myths about the change.” This allegation that resistance to the “reinterpretation” of Article 9 is based on nothing but “myths” is increasingly heard, and so it is worth examining their arguments, and the so-called myths that they purport to dismiss.
Green and Hornung argued that the changes to be made through the “reinterpretation” were actually slight and that the immediate implications were far less problematic than alleged. There is a grain of truth to this as it relates to imminent strategic consequences, but it also misses the essential point. Yes, at least in the short term, changes to the roles and the missions of the nation’s Self Defense Forces resulting from “reinterpretation” will probably be modest; and yes, the changes will not likely lead to militarism, regional adventurism, or various other scenarios that the article examines and dismisses. But this focus on the intended policy shifts misses the far more significant issues raised both by the unconstitutional nature of the move and the possible longer-term and profound systemic ramifications of the “reinterpretation.”
It is precisely because the immediate strategic implications of the Abe Cabinet’s announcement will probably be relatively modest that the implications for constitutional practice in Japan should be the focus of the debate. Perhaps the changing strategic environment in Asia will require Japan to consider relaxing some of the constraints imposed by Article 9. However, so fundamental a change to the nation’s constitution should only come after broad debate and pursuant to formal amendment procedures as provided for in the constitution. As explained below, the so-called “reinterpretation” process has in fact weakened constitutionalism, the rule of law, and fundamental principles of democracy in Japan, an argument that Green and Hornung, and many other defenders of the “reinterpretation”, never seriously address. In short, the harm is to the Constitution, and so focus on strategy is no answer.
Let us re-examine some of the “myths” that Green and Hornung so quickly dismiss. … Read more…
(Interview with Katherine Bang on fm 90.5, Busan, South Korea, July 2, 2014)
I conducted an interview with Katherine Bang of fm 90.5, an English language radio station in Busan, South Korea, on July 2, 2014, on the issue of the Japanese government’s purported “reinterpretation” of Art. 9 of the Constitution of Japan, and the right of collective self-defense that the Japanese government now says it has as a result.
Click this link to access audio file of the interview.
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(Interview with Yoichi Takeuchi, in the Tokyo Shinbun, Jun. 30, 2014)
法の支配揺るがす ≪解釈改憲≫ 米の法学者はこう見る（東京新聞６月３０日）
－安倍政権は「日本を取り巻く安全保障環境の変化」を憲法解釈を変える理由の一つに挙げているが。 … Read more…