In-depth study of and further discussions on the Constitution
January 1st, 2007
Happy New Year!
We have entered into a very important year that is a very
important one for the future of the Constitution. I will dedicate
myself to its in-depth study, and I undertake to discuss it
with more people.
Last year, the new Abe Cabinet was established. Prime Minister
Abe, who assumed the presidency of the Liberal Democratic
Party with constitutional amendments as his primary pledge,
has revealed his determination to enact these amendments during
his term in office. At the National Diet, a consensus has
been reached between the ruling parties and the main opposition
party regarding the enactment of a modified national referendum
bill that would enable "amendment" of the Constitution.
A "New Constitution" cannot be implemented under
the formalities outlined under the current Constitution. However,
while calling it "Amendments to the Constitution,"
both the ruling parties and the main opposition party are
effectively attempting to enact a "New Constitution."
As Prof. Noriho Urabe, our institution's chief guest researcher
points out, it is "nothing but an attempted revolution
or a coup d'etat." [From his book Kenpou no Hon
(Book on the Constitution]. With this year marking the 60th
anniversary since the Constitution of Japan took effect, the
issue is reaching a crucial juncture.
Yet, at the same time, many are beginning to realize the problematic
nature of the "amendments." Over 5,000 "Article
9 Associations," from various locations and from different
fields, are conducting diversified activities. And their activities
are having an influence on the members of the Diet and their
parties who are conscious of this year's Upper House election.
Through the in-depth study of the Constitution and discussions
with more people, we can prevent the attempts at making a
"New Constitution" via the Constitutional "Amendments",
and make good use of the principles of the Constitution to
the benefit of society.
Last year, our institute published a book entitled Nihonkokukenpou
no Takakutekikensyou (Multilateral examination of the
Constitution of Japan in light of the movement towards Constitutional
'amendments') published by Nihon Hyoron Sha. The book includes
impressive articles from various academic and professional
domains and has successfully raised awareness of the issue.
The institute has also produced and introduced Japan: A
country which does not make war, the first film in a series
of documentary films entitled Walk with the Constitution.
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Constitution
of Japan's enactment, this film analyzes the role that the
Constitution has played and uses historic footage. The film
is currently showing in various parts of the country.
In terms of the information transmitted on our website, we
are fortunate to receive valuable comments from various fields
every week, which has helped enrich the column "This
week's comments" and the "Reference on the Constitution
Database" as well as the English and Korean websites.
This enrichment is the fruit of the cooperation of the many
people involved, including the guest researchers, supporting
members and collaborators. Again, I would like to express
This year, in addition to our regular activities, our institute
will hold a series of lectures entitled "Our Constitution
in world history" and will also publish new books
from which we can learn about the Constitution's raison d'etre,
its role and its function from a historical perspective. In
this way, we will conduct our awareness-raising activities
in a more diversified and effective way in order to underscore
the Constitution of Japan's essential value to society.
I intend to undertake activities, such as lectures and article
writing, with the utmost energy. And it is my strong wish
to do so to the best of my ability and together with many
citizens. I would like to ask for your kind understanding