In 1947, the new Japanese Constitution, also referred to as the 'MacArthur Constitution', because of the American commander's influence over its creation, was implemented. The United States had fought and occupied the archipelago during WWII with the primary objective being to ensure Japan would not go to war again. Article 9, which Shinzo Abe is attempting to rewrite in order to facilitate greater Japan/US relations, and a move which has US President Barack Obama's "strong support", was originally written with the sole purpose of guaranteeing that Japan would never use war to settle international disputes.
"Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a mean of settling international disputes. (2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized." - The Constitution of Japan, (1947)
Mr. Abe's proposition would see the Japanese military, better known as the Self Defense Forces, engaging in active combat for the first time in 70 years. Japanese citizens, often derided for their aversion to public displays of emotion, are coming together to raise their collective voice in protest.
Over the weekend, thousands of protesters opposed to Japan's potential involvement in international combat, gathered around Japan's parliament. They were united under a common philosophy: Abe's 'proactive pacifism', his desire to defend allies under attack, primarily the United States - could be Japan's undoing.
Adding to Mr. Abe's descent is Zaha Hadid's Olympic stadium (Tokyo). The Japan Sport Council, which operates the stadium, announced an extra ¥19 billion (153 million USD) would be needed to "build supplemental facilities for the new main stadium after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics". The stadium, already held in public disdain due to its ever-increasing costs, was now estimated to carry a price tag of ¥252 billion (2 billion USD): more than ¥87 billion (700 million USD) above its initial estimate.
In an effort to release the downward tug of the sinking stadium, Abe announced on Friday he would be walking away from the beleaguered structure. "I've decided to send the current plan for the new National Stadium . . . back to the drawing board, I made the decision today because I'm firmly convinced that (a new stadium) will be completed by the opening of the Olympic and Paralympic Games". The Japan Times added that Mr. Abe said the redesign would cause Japan to "renege on its promise to use the venue for the 2019 Rugby World Cup because the new stadium won't be built in time".
On Sunday, The Mainichi newspaper released details of its polls, conducted on July 17 & 18, following the contentious security bill being "rammed" through the House of Representatives.
"Public support for the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has plunged to 35 percent…down 7 points from the previous survey on July 4 and 5". The new rating is the "lowest level seen since Prime Minister Abe returned to power in December 2012".
[photo credit: Hudson Institute] #News