[NYT] Japan’s Break With Peace

July 16, 2014

“The Liberal Democratic Party, which Mr. Abe leads, has promoted a nationalist agenda ever since its establishment in 1955.”

[THE NEW YORK TIMES]  TOKYO — On July 1, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gutted Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, the so-called “peace clause” that has historically prohibited belligerence. Using a cabinet decision to reinterpret the article, and so bypassing Parliament and the requirement for a referendum on a change to the Constitution, Mr. Abe thus empowered Japan’s military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, to take action against other countries.

Media outlets opposed the move, hundreds of thousands of citizens protested outside the prime minister’s official residence and a man set himself on fire in front of Shinjuku Station — all to no effect. Mr. Abe decided he could afford to go ahead. And it appears he was right: Postwar Japan’s pacifist spirit is finally dying.

Polls have shown that a majority of Japan’s citizens oppose the doctrine of “collective self-defense,” as the right to exercise force is known. Yet those who support Mr. Abe’s cabinet continue to outnumber those who don’t. [READ MORE]