BBC News, Tokyo Japanese troops have served overseas, including in Iraq Later this month Japanese politicians will be fighting an election that will decide the make-up of the upper house of parliament. It is a first important electoral test for Shinzo Abe as prime minister. He took on the job last autumn and his popularity has been in decline ever since. One issue that is attracting a fair amount of attention is his plan to reform the country's pacifist constitution.
What are the implications of the moves to change it? The first paragraph declares renunciation of war and the second declares renunciation of military forces and other war potential. However, Japan has military forces called the Self Defence Forces. To avoid the appearance of militaristic revival, the each department of the forces were named the Ground Self Defence Force, the Maritime Self-Defence Force, and the Air Self-Defence Force, instead of the army, navy, and air force.
However, although they do not have long range missiles or nuclear weapons to attack other countries, instead, they are very well equipped and are still one of the most powerful military forces in the world.
Therefore, they are virtually no different from other military forces in the world. Certainly possession of these military forces contradicts Article 9 in the constitution.
Besides, the Forces were established inonly few years after the Japanese constitution came into force. Consequently, the nation has been contradicting its own constitution for more than 50 years and this has been the subject of controversy.
Some insist that it is for the sake of world peace to change the constitution so that Japan is able to maintain military forces and deploy them overseas, while others severely criticise this movement as a revival of militarism. Ultimately, Japan has to either, dissolve the SDF, or change the constitution for the first time since it was adopted, to be free from the prolonged and controversial contradiction.
Being fostered by the US, the new Japanese constitution came into force in However, injust three years after the constitution was issued, the Korean War broke out.
Therefore, Japan needed to have a defence relationship with the US. As a result, with the encouragement of the US, the Japanese government authorized the establishment of the National Police Reserve, which would become the Self Defence Forces in a short time.
Therefore, the government interpreted Article 9 as allowing for military forces for defensive purposes. However, antimilitaristic public opinion remained as a strong force in the nation and the constitutional legitimacy of the SDF was challenged many times.
Interpretations Since the SDF was formed, the Japanese government has been expanding its interpretation on Article 9 so that the Self Defence Forces can participate in overseas peacekeeping activities. Under the law, the forces were sent to Cambodia and Mozambique to participate in peacekeeping operations, which were actually appreciated and valued internationally.
The SDF was sent in order to assist the US-led occupation of Iraq, participating in peacekeeping operation over the country. This deployment is considered as a significant turning point in the history of Japanese post-war politics as it is the first time since the end of World War Two that Japan sent troops abroad except for a few UN peacekeeping deployments.
The deployment of troops to the battlefield was still not permitted under the new law and troops were to solely take part in police action However, the Iraqi territory all over could potentially be a battlefield and it is possible the troops engage in fight, which will contradict both.Thus, starting from the turn of the 50ss of the last century, the second paragraph of the Article 9 gradually began to directly contradict the realities: de-facto Japan has the armed forces, and according to the Constitution, it should not.
The country's military (the Japan Self-Defense Forces – JSDF) is restricted by Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, which renounces Japan's right to declare war or use military force in international disputes.
In light of new political realities and Japan’s recent security legislation, this inevitably raises the question: what might revision mean for the Constitution’s famously “pacifist” Article 9?
The Nobel Peace Prize for Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution (憲法9条にノーベル平和賞を) is a social movement whose aim is to push for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to the citizens of Japan for maintaining the country's post-war Constitution, especially Article 9.
Both France and the United States have a Bill of Rights. Both documents list rights of the individual. The United States Constitution Bill of Rights, the French Rights of Man, and the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights all share one set purpose.
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