As August approaches, the Japanese media prepares special reports about war.
This is because August is the month when atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it’s also when Japan accepted defeat in the Second World War.
This year the debate in the media about war and peace will be more passionate than usual.
After the war, Japan has remained pacifist, and has not fought with other nations.
However, in recent years many Japanese feel threatened by the militaristic comments and actions of China and North Korea.
To withstand this pressure, Prime Minister Abe proposes to use the right of collective defense – based on the US-Japan security treaty – as a deterrent.
However, article nine of the current constitution bans, not only embarking on a war, but also having a military.
In order to change the constitution, over two thirds of Diet members in the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors have to be in favor, as well as the majority of citizens.
Since this is a serious obstacle, Prime Minister Abe is trying to make collective defense possible by changing the interpretation of the constitution, without changing the current constitution.
After the present constitution was established, the then Prime Minister YOSHIDA Shigeru explained that Japan has no right to defense under the constitution.
Later, the Japanese government judged the existence of a self-defense force to be in line with the constitution, as there was a right to defend, even under the present constitution.
However, successive prime ministers have declared that it doesn’t recognize the right to collective defense.
Prime Minister Abe insists that the right to collective defense is recognized by the present constitution.
On the other hand, many citizens are against collective defense, or say that revision of the constitution should be prioritized.
Furthermore, citizens have successfully made the petition to authorities that the ideals enshrined in article nine of the constitution were worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.
t’s time for the Japanese people to decide: should Japan strengthen its defenses in response to the reports of threats from other nations, or should it continue to maintain minimum defenses in accordance with its peaceful constitution?
(From July issue, 2014 / 2014年7月号より）
Hachi/8 gatsu ga
Hachi/8 gatsu wa/ha
the Second World War
(is the) month (when)
after (the) war
has remained and
tatakatta koto wa/ha arimasen.
has not fought
(in) recent years
(the) comments (and) actions
Sono atsuryoku ni
taikou suru tame ni,
Abe Prime Minister
Nichibei anzen’hoshou jouyaku o/wo
US-Japan security treaty
be-su ni shita
(the) right of collective defense
teian o/wo shite imasu.
kyuu/9 jou wa/ha,
article nine (of)
suru koto wa/ha
(the) House of Representatives
(the) House of Councilors
san/3 bun no ni/2
two thirds (of)
shinakere ba narimasen.
Abe Prime Minister
(the current) constitution
kaeru koto de
kanou ni shiyou to
to make possible
YOSHIDA Shigeru Shushou wa/ha
Yoshida Shigeru (the) Prime Minister
right to defense