The Pros And Cons Of The Japanese Constitution

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After the ending of hostilities of World War II and the surrender of the Imperial Japanese government, Japan was disarmed and its armed forces completely decommissioned. American and Allied forces were put in the position of providing protection and security for the nation. As Japan focused on rebuilding itself from the ashes of war, the leadership of the American occupy forces under General Douglas MacArthur put pressure on the Japanese government to amend its prior Meiji Constitution of 1899 (LOC, 2006). However, after seeing a leaked draft of the Japanese revisions MacArthur without consulting the Japanese ordered his own team to draft a new Japanese constitution. At a meeting of both sides, the American rejected the Japanese version and …show more content…
Accordingly, they demanded that any new constitution include a renunciation of war. The eventual result of those demands was Article 9; which reads in relevant part, “the Japanese people forever, renounce war as a sovereign right of the nations and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes … the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized” (LOC, 2006). Although the constitution was, in essence forced on the Japanese by the Americans, Article 9 was considered by many Japanese to be a timely policy choice. The idea of eliminating the government’s ability to make war resonated with a population that had suffered greatly during the war years. To be sure, a majority of Japanese government and public support Article 9 and the pro-pacifist posture that it engender. In time, the Japanese Constitution of 1947 became known as the “pacifist constitution” (LOC, 2006). Not only was a “peace-loving” constitution good for a nation to trying to focus on rebuilding but it also had substantial effects on reducing tensions with other nations of the region, namely China and the Korea. Both had suffered tremendously at the hands of Japanese forces during the first half of the 20th …show more content…
Their rivalry was brought to a head during two wars from 1894 to 1895 and 1937 to 1945 which included the Japanese occupation and annexation of large sections of China as well countless deaths on both sides. Considering the history between the two nations, it is no surprise that the Chinese response to Abe’s announcement was, in contrast to the US’, decidedly negative. Indeed, the day after the announcement, Xinhua, the official press agency for the Chinese government stated that the announcement a “brutal violation” of the spirit of the Japanese Constitution that “raises doubts about Japan’s approach to peaceful development” (XIN, 2014). Since taking office in 2012, China has been wary of Abe’s nationalist tendencies which include, according to China, his visit to a Japanese memorial that is said to contain the graves of several Japanese war criminals and his silence on changes to Japanese history books which omit Japanese actions in China during World War II (Yahuda,

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