Sunday, January 27, 2013
Voters in Japan are evenly split on revising Article 9 of the country's constitution--the article that requires a pacifist state--according to Reuters, citing a survey by the Asahi newspaper and a University of Tokyo research team.
The survey doesn't appear to foretell an actual constitutional amendment, although Reuters notes that nearly 90% of MPs favor a change to Article 9.
The constitution of Japan has never been formally altered since U.S. occupation forces drafted it in 1947. Article 9 reads:
Renunciation of War. 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 means of settling international disputes.
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.
Although Article 9 by its plain terms seems to ban standing forces, Japan has dispatched troops for peacekeeping and non-combat reconstruction missions.
Under Article 96, an amendment requires a two-thirds vote in each house of the Diet and a majority vote in a national referendum.