Prime Minister Abe will not amend the disarmament clause in the Constitution for now
(this is my answer to a question made by one of my friends in the US. I changed the original text a bit)
Why not amend our Constitution now?
Because it will entail a referendum, which will certainly divide the national opinion in two and create very risky situation for Abe's government like the Brexit referendum.
The ninth clause of our Constitution is the embodiment of the US' wish to disarm Japan after its defeat. But when the US changed its mind and wanted to recreate Japanese armed forces only to be sent to the Korean War, it was too late.
The Japanese people themselves loved the disarmament and the protection by the US. And the socialists, who received funding from the Soviet Union and China, did everything to make the ninth clause of our Constitution an object of fetishism. So the US tied its own hands: very ironic situation.
So, if LDPJ (Liberal Dem.Party of Japan, the ruling party) loses in the referendum, Abe should resign. Even if LDPJ wins (opinion polls show that it will not be case. The majority is against amending the disarmament clause), the leftists will use this to defeat LDPJ in an ensuing general election (criticizing Mr.Abe's high-handed manner).
The term of our Congress (or Lower House) expires in December 2018, but usually the prime minister prefers to dissolve the Lower House early in order to choose for him-herself the best timing for election.
So, firstly economic policy, secondly a victory in next general election and only thereafter Abe will seriously start the process to change the Constitution.
There is no hurry to do that, because, anyway, without changing the Constitution the government can send armed forces abroad when necessary for defense (of course with consent of the receiving country) by virtue of the new laws on security adopted one year ago.
One more (unexpected) factor showed up the day before yesterday, which may even more delay the process of the amendment; our Emperor made someone leak his will to resign while he is alive. The Law on the Imperial Family does not foresee an early retirement of the Emperor. He has to pass away to be relieved from official duty. Now a discussion on how to handle his will should start, which is more imminent for the media (I don't know why, though).
The timing of the leak is very intriguing; right after LDPJ's victory in the Upper House election last week the Emperor has had his will to resign leaked. Was he aware that it may overshadow the discussion on amendment of the Constitution?
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