People look at the original version (bottom left) of the Japanese Constitution during an exhibition to commemorate its 70th anniversary in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
Japan's American-written "peace constitution" has survived ECCO Jamestown Mid Stivali Nere italia , unchanged, for 70 years. But nationalists seeking an overhaul are gearing up for a major new push as concerns grow over North Korea.
Conservatives have long called for the document they see as a national humiliation to be amended, but current political alignments and growing security concerns suggest they now have their best chance to succeed.
"The time is ripe," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday in a speech to supporters of change. "We will take a historic step toward the major goal of revising the constitution in this milestone year."
The constitution, which took effect 70 years ago on Wednesday (May 3) Ecco Leather italia , renounced Japan's sovereign right to wage war. It has been championed by progressives as a pacifist symbol born out of the country's World War II defeat.
Supporters argue the document is a bulwark against any repeat of Japan's WWII aggression, and warn attempts to revise it risk whitewashing the country's modern history.
But nationalists deride it as an alien charter forced on the country by an occupying power - the US - bent on imposing its own Western values.
And they see those who defend its emphasis on peace as dangerously out of tune with geopolitical -realities, such as North Korea's nuclear and missile -programs.
"The fault lines of Japanese politics very much run through the constitution," said Kenneth Ruoff, professor of modern Japanese history at Portland State University.
Abe has long vowed to bring it more in line with what conservatives see as Japanese values Ecco Cool 2.0 italia , such as greater emphasis on obligations rather than rights, and on the family not the individual.
While unlikely to seek the complete removal of the popular and war-renouncing Article 9, supporters advocate for changes to its wording, such as recognizing the country's self-defense forces as a military and clarifying Japan's right to defend itself.
Pro-amendment parties can now muster the two-thirds majorities necessary in both houses of parliament to pass changes, though they would be subject to a national referendum for final approval and that is seen as the biggest hurdle.
The constitution has never been amended Ecco Biom italia , but governments such as Abe's have interpreted it in ways that have effectively loosened some of its constraints.
In 2015, for example, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its allies rammed legislation through parliament enabling Japan to engage in "collective security" - the defense of troops from its US ally and other friendly nations - if it was seriously threatened.
That triggered a backlash from legal scholars and lawyers - who argued the changes violated the constitution - and sparked demonstrations outside parliament.
On Monday, Japan dispatched its biggest warship since WWII to escort and protect a US supply vessel in the first such action under the new security laws as tensions mount in the region over North Korea.
While pro-revisionists now have their "greatest chance" to make changes, it may still be hard for them to amend the document Ecco Collin italia , which would require a consensus, said Ruoff. "Everybody has to agree and that's not so easy."
Public opinion polling shows broad acceptance of the "peace constitution" - as it is widely known - as a whole, although views are divided on the hot-button issue of Article 9.
Taeko Higa, a Tokyo office worker, staunchly opposes any changes and fears for the future.
"I'm interested in the constitution and politics but many people around me aren't Ecco Soft 8 italia ," she said, worrying they are vulnerable to aggressive arguments in favor of revision.
While polls show the overwhelming majority of Japanese are concerned by North Korea's missile tests, surveys have turned up wide variations in the level of support for amending Article 9.
Public broadcaster NHK found only 25 percent of respondents in favor of changing it, with 57 percent opposed. Another survey by Kyodo News found 49 percent for and 47 percent against.
Attitudes would likely harden if there was a real attack - intentional or accidental - by Pyongyang.
"If a missile came flying over and actually fell on us things might dramatically change," said company employee Keizo Kubota.
Article 9 of Japanese Constitution:
Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order Ecco Intrinsic italia , the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential Ecco Moc Tie italia , will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.
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