Japan Times – 2006-05-06 23:24:46
Constitution Survey Shows 77% Oppose Changing Article 9
Seventy-seven percent of the public is against revising the Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9, according to the results of a street survey released Wednesday by a citizens group.
Of the 28,169 people polled, 21,652, or 77 percent, opposed revision, 3,270, or 12 percent, supported revision, and 3,247, or 11 percent, had no opinion, the group said.
The survey started Saturday and ended on Wednesday, which was Constitution Day — the day the Constitution was promulgated on May 3, 1947.
In the survey, people were stopped at 72 street locations in 33 of the 47 prefectures and asked to put a seal on a board to indicate their position on amending Article 9.
The group, led by Ryuzaburo Noda, professor emeritus of mathematics at Okayama University, said the survey results clearly show that the people do not want the war-renouncing article to be revised.
Noda said he “would like to see Japanese politicians defend Article 9 and contribute to global peace.”
The group said it will mail the survey results to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono and
House of Councilors President Chikage Ogi.
In October 2005, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party completed a draft for a new constitution that rewrites the preamble and inserts several new clauses, including one officially allowing Japan to possess a military for self-defense that can also take part in international security operations and keep public order at home in emergencies.
The Democratic Party of Japan, the main opposition party, proposed its own amendments the same month, calling for the Constitution to stipulate Japan’s right to defend itself and to allow the country to use the minimum level of force needed.
Article 9 of the postwar Constitution says: “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 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.”
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