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Essay and Opinion

Changing Constitution is harmful, inconsistent with global trend

May 7 2007

Noriho Urabe
Professor at Nagoya University
Japan Institution of Constitutional Law Visiting Chief Researcher

The move towards the revision of the Japanese Constitution forms a part of the U.S. version of "globalization" or their scheme to impose their values on whole the world. The U.S. forcibly promotes their "globalization" in order to control the world and to maximize its capitalistic benefit on which the U.S. government is founded. Therefore, the U.S. presses Japan to shoulder military burden in Asia Pacific Region. Such a policy has been maintained for decades. And it has been fully executed since the end of the Cold War, and infinitely intensified since the 9.11 tragedy and the Iraqi War.
The Japanese government has always been following whatever the U.S. orders; including rear-area support in the Afghan War, wholehearted support and dispatch of Self-Defense Forces in the Iraqi War, privatization of postal service and legalization of triangle mergers. Why does our government always obey the U.S. in such a senseless manner? Because, the Japanese government and business circles always expect to receive some shares by serving the U.S. They have no long-term plan, no rational thinking, and no vision for the future of Japanese industry and economy. They seem to see nothing else but their day-to-day benefits. If they are pragmatic enough to be real business leaders, they should see the importance of friendly relations with other Asian nations who are achieving remarkable economic growth. They should see that Asian neighbors are indispensable for the Japanese economy to maintain its stability. Can't they be wise enough to oppose the revision of the Constitution because such a change will negatively affect the relations with the Asian neighbors? How can Japanese business leaders rationally approve of the government's policy which facilitates American capital's purchase of Japanese corporations? We may conclude that the business circles, which control the government, are interested only in their profits and status of the moment. They are completely indifferent to the future of Japan.
Japanese politicians, backed up by such business circles, are not much wiser. They are also incapable of having any rational long-term policy. Calling loudly for "national interests" and "patriotism", they carry out the policy of selling out Japan to the U.S. Ridiculously, they dare deny the Constitution which has secured their status. Being unaware of that contradiction, they boldly preach total revision of the Constitution. Such numbness shows that they can no longer think logically. Indeed, I have to doubt their sanity and the conformity of their senses. Only under the Constitution, Prime Minister and the Diet members legitimately remain what they are. Is it difficult for anyone to see that they are shaking their status by trying to undermine the Constitution?
The move towards the change of Constitution is being driven by instinctive motives. Such a move attracts some people because it is embellished with some catchy phrases to look cool and cheering. I would like to ask those who are lured if they have seriously thought about the possibilities of killing or being killed in a war. They seem to believe that they are always guarded in a safe place, and that somebody else will kill and be killed in wars for them. That must be the common notion among those advocates and the passionate followers who "bravely" call for the change of the Constitution.
The idea of "security" is changing from "national security" to "human security". I think the latter has become a common perception in the international society. Security used to be a synonym of "military affairs" because they only thought of guarding their nations. Therefore, when "security" was at the top of the agenda, people were never free from various threats and dreads including; poverty, starvation, discrimination, deterioration of global environment and shortages of food, water and energy resources. There is no military solution to such modern issues. It is time for us to think about security policy in a pure sense: how to protect people's daily lives. The international society is already making efforts to carry out such new security policy. Japanese politicians should be realistic enough to recognize this new trend. Security policy no longer means national defense with military forces.
I often hear stale criticism that the Constitution is outdated and impractical. On the contrary, the principle in our Constitution is very modern and practical. In its preface, it proclaims the pacifism that "all peoples of the world have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want". The idea is to make it possible for all the people on the earth to live without fear and shortages. In other words, the goal of our Constitution is not limited to the war-renunciation and demilitarization. It is almost the same as the concept of "human security". If you see where the international community has arrived, you may understand that the notion of our constitution is very realistic. Japan can play more important roles in the world under this Constitution.
Japan would lose a lot and be left behind in the world, if it should change the Constitution and reinforce its military. That would never be a rational choice.