Many LDP members seeking modest change to war-renouncing Article 9

Japan Today -- Feb 08
Many ruling Liberal Democratic Party members called Wednesday for a relatively moderate amendment of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution during a plenary meeting to discuss the issue.

The focus of the LDP debate on constitutional reform is on whether LDP members will unite behind Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's proposal to revise Article 9 by adding an explicit reference to the Self-Defense Forces, while keeping intact the existing paragraphs of the article.

During the meeting on Wednesday, some LDP members backed Abe's proposal, while others proposed stipulating Japan's "exercise of self-defense" rather than the specific name of the defense organization.

Both sets of members agreed that the revision should not affect the existing two paragraphs of Article 9, particularly the second paragraph that states Japan shall not maintain "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential."

The second paragraph has long complicated the status of the SDF, which inside Japan are treated as a quasi military, and has imposed various restrictions on their activities and capabilities so as not to be deemed unconstitutional.

Some LDP members insisted on the need to remove the second paragraph, according to a lawmaker who briefed on the meeting.

Many LDP members are leaning toward moderate revision of Article 9 to boost the chances of realizing the first-ever revision of the postwar Constitution, which must ultimately be approved by a majority in a public referendum.

- Japan Today