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Japan Remains Divided on Amending War-Renouncing Constitution, Poll Reveals

© Sputnik / Natalia Seliverstova /  / Go to the mediabankThe state flag of Japan.
The state flag of Japan. - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.05.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Japanese population remain split in half over the issue of revisiting the postwar constitution that enshrines Japan renouncing the possession of armed forces and denying war as a mean of resolving international disputes, according to the survey of the Japanese news agency Kyodo published on Monday.
The survey revealed that despite rising tensions in the international arena and growing concerns over regional stability, the level of support for amending Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, which repudiates war and prohibits the possession of armed forces, among the Japanese remained almost the same as a year ago, 50% for revision and 48% against it. The last year figures were 51% in favour of revision, with 45% opposing it.
Furthermore, the survey revealed that 76% of citizens believe that Japan has not been involved in armed conflicts after World War II owing to Article 9 of the constitution, which constitutes a 9%-increase compared to the last year, Kyodo said. At the same time, only one-third of respondents, 29%, believe heightened international tensions to be a reason for revising the constitution, with a vast majority of 70% not thinking so, the outlet added.
The poll was conducted by mail from 1 March to 11 April among 3,000 adult respondents, 65% of whom provided valid answers.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan is advocating for amending the constitution to, in fact, capture the existence of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), which were founded in 1954 to ensure the country's external protection and now are serving as Japan's army. As those opposing the amendments argue, the JSDF existence runs counter to the Article 9, therefore is unconstitutional, calling on preserving the Article and reforming the JSDF seeking to detach Japan form international conflicts.
Under the law, a constitutional amendment must be supported by two-thirds of lawmakers in both houses of parliament, with a national referendum to take an ultimate decision. Until last year, Japan had no clear referendum regulations, which made constitutional revisions virtually impossible. Yet, last year the parliament adopted a law stipulating the referendum rules, with the liberal forces saying that it would pave the way for constitutional revision and greater militarization of Japan.
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