Sunday, October 30, 2005

Things Keep Getting Better...

Except when they don't. Japan's governing LDP have release their proposed ammendments to the Constitution. Let's just say it doesn't look like they're too concerned about how this will play in Seoul or Beijing:
TOKYO — The ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Friday finalized its draft of a new Constitution, featuring possession of military forces for self-defense, in a move to amend Japan's fundamental law for the first time since its introduction after World War II.

The move is expected to help spur the political debate on revising the Constitution that was promulgated in 1947 as the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan has already been prompted to prepare its own set of proposals for preliminary release next Monday....
The draft, meanwhile, maintains that the emperor is the symbol of the state and leaves intact the first paragraph of Article 9 that says "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."
Good, right? Well, not quite:
As for freedom of religion, the draft relaxes the ban on the state to engage in religious education or any other religious activity to be relevant only when the activity goes beyond the scope of socially accepted protocol or manners, apparently defining Koizumi's visits to the war-related Yasukuni Shrine as constitutional.
So the proposals maintain the fig leaf of pacifism, but definitely put Japan back on the road to military power. Furthermore, future Japanese PMs won't be pestered by that nasty separation of church and state, which Koizumi has ignored anyway.

Given that Article 9 was largely being ignored anyway, you might argue that nothing much has changed. I disagree. What we're seeing is a legal enshrinement (pun not intended) of Koizumi's more pugnacious form of Japanese nationalism. I haven't read a translation of the ammendment yet, but I'll try and find one. All in all, I imagine we'll see a response from the mainland in not too long.

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