Over half of Japanese public support for revision of Constitution

Over half of Japanese public support for revision of Constitution

Half of the respondents believe that Japan needs to amend Article 9 of its Constitution to clarify the legal status of the Self-Defense Forces, with the level of support almost unchanged from a year ago, despite growing concerns over regional security.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 50% said it was necessary to revise Article 9 and 48%, despite increasing calls for an amendment among the lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and some other parties.

The numbers were 51% in favor of an amendment and 45% against in a similar poll conducted last year.

The Kyodo News survey was conducted online between March 1 and April 11 and targeted 3,000 people aged 18 or over, of whom 65.3% gave valid answers, ahead of Constitution Memorial Day on Tuesday.

Some security and political experts fear Russia's invasion of Ukraine could embolden China to attack Taiwan.

The latest poll shows that Moscow's aggression in Ukraine has not contributed to increasing the momentum in favor of revision among the public.

Article 9 of the Constitution renounces war and bans the possession of military forces and other war potential. During his tenure, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it is important to clarify the legal status of the SDF to put an end to arguments that Japanese forces are unconstitutional. The article does not prevent the country from defending itself, so it allows Japan to have defense forces, according to the government.

The postwar constitution, drafted under the U.S. Allied occupation of Japan after World War II, has never been revised since it took effect in 1947.

The proposal must be approved by a two-thirds majority in both the upper and lower houses before it can be put to a national referendum.

76% said Japan has not waged war since the end of World War II because of Article 9, up 9 percentage points from the poll last year.

On Sunday Prime Minister Fumio Kishida repeated a TV program that amends the supreme law, including Article 9, based on the LDP proposal, is a task that Japan has to deal with in order to deal with the changing security situation.

The survey found that only 29% feel that momentum toward revising the article is increasing or somewhat increasing, while 70% don't.

Some 76% support a revision of the Constitution to introduce an emergency clause to respond to the coronaviruses epidemic and other disasters, while 23% oppose it.