The Constitution of Japan was implemented on May 3, 1947. The year 2016 commemorates the 69th anniversary. In July of that year the Ministry of Education (then) published a textbook which contained Story of New Constitution for first-grade students of junior high schools. The story impresses readers with significance of the Constitution with lucid explanations.
PRIME MINISTER MUST READ ‘STORY OF NEW CONSTITUTION’ COMPILED FOR JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
The post-war Japanese society, representing a beginning of a new era, is characterized by acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration and implementation of the new Constitution.
The social institutions have been built up on the bases of the declaration and the constitution, while people have achieved successful economic development. The nation has occupied ‘an honored place’, winning trust from the rest of the world thanks to peace diplomacy. Japan has not waged a war against other countries even though many wars have provoked sequence of hatred.
Prime Minister’s Dangerous Initiative
The Constitution celebrates its 69th birthday this year, but dangerous circumstances have emerged. Prime Minister himself takes initiative to amend the peace constitution.
Premier Abe Shinzo, who wants to rewrite the constitution, voiced without hesitation, that ‘I have not read the Potsdam Declaration minutely’ during the discussion meeting with party leaders held in May last year. Then in June he wrote ‘I have read it’ in his response which the cabinet approved.
It is surprising that Prime Minister has not read the declaration which Japan accepted unconditionally to end the Asia- Pacific War. Since Premier Abe advocates rewriting the constitution, he has certainly fully read the constitution.
Premier, however, has not read the text of Story of Constitution which provides clear and reader-friendly explanations on the constitutional principles. He must read it. If he does, he could see that his position and thinking completely betray the constitutional rules and ideas. Those who want to rewrite the constitution, including lawmakers of the LDP and its coalition partner Komeito as well as Premier, should read it to be aware of their outrageousness.
The Constitution of Japan is a rigid constitution. Article 96 represents difficulty of amendment. Premier Abe tried to undermine the article in 2013, which was a shameful, treacherous attempt, but failed as public opinion discouraged his intention.
National Emergency Clause
Premier Abe has not given up destroying Article 96. He has proposed now a draft for amendment which includes ‘an emergency clause’. He regards the clause as a tool to revise the provided text of Article Nine. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) compiled already a draft of new constitution in 2012 which contained a national emergency clause. Concerning ‘people’s life, body and assets’, the draft reads ‘people must obey instructions of the state authority and other public institutions’ and people’s rights are seriously constrained. State power concentrates to Prime Minister. The LDP attempts to incorporate this dangerous clause in to the new constitution.
At the moment people largely discredit the Abe government as it has forcibly passed the war legislation and restarted nuclear power stations. It involves in construction of a new military base in Henoko, Okinawa, too, disregarding the opposition of local people. The administration exerts authoritarian power and ignores the Diet, the supreme organ of the state, leaving people’s voice out of account. Furthermore, it tries to worsen penal codes, including the Wire-tapping Law. Police oppression becomes harsher.
On the occasion of the anniversary of implementation, we must appreciate significance of the Constitution once again. Let’s struggle to bring reckless drive of the government to a halt.
April 25, 2016