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Cover Stories Series 2013> Japan Consolidates Leadership> Video
UPDATED: July 21, 2013
Abe Seeks to Rewrite the Pacifist Constitution

Japanese right-wing forces have been dreaming of revising their pacifist constitution for a long time. Their main aim is to change the 9th Article which says Japan forever renounces war and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes. One of the principles of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is to "draw up an independent constitution".

On April 24, 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party that it is necessary to revise the current Constitution, which was imposed by the U.S..

But according to the then Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, American General Douglas MacArthur, it was the then Japanese Prime Minister Kijuro Shidehara who originally proposed the inclusion of outlawing war into the Constitution. He came to MacArthur and told him he thought the only way to establish peace was to renounce war and he suggested putting that into the draft constitution. MacArthur once disclosed this information to the U.S. Congress.

At the end of 2012, Abe was re-elected as Japanese Prime Minister and he continued his effort to push for a constitutional revision.

On May 5 2013, wearing a Yomiuri Giants shirt with the number 96 on it, Abe showed up as a guest judge at the Tokyo Dome baseball stadium. The commentator blurted out "Number 96? It has something to do with the amendment to the constitution." But Abe denied this," I'm Japan's 96th Prime Minister, so I wear the number 96 shirt."

In fact, revising Article 96 is Abe's first goal. The article says any amendments to the constitution require a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament. Abe wants to reduce the condition to a simple majority.

But dissenting voices have come from the Japanese field of law.

Japan's current Constitution came into force on May 3 1947. It has guaranteed a peaceful environment for Japan's economic growth.

Between 1955 and 1964, the annual growth rate of GNP in Japan was maintained above 9 percent and the figure exceeded 10 percent between 1965 and 1970. In the mid 1980s, Japan became the second-largest economy in the world.

Experts say only as a consequence of the rigid restrictions of the pacifist constitution, has Japan been able to concentrate on its economic development and achieve social prosperity.

(CNTV.cn July 21, 2013)

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