Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed amending the Japanese constitution to formalize the existence of the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) by 2020.
Abe has made reforming Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, the ‘pacifist clause,’ a central theme in his time as Prime Minister. Polls show support for the change growing annually, while opposition slowly trickles away.
Tensions with North Korea have only added weight to the calls for allowing Japan to officially wield an offensively capable military. But the issue of Japanese formal pacifism is a sensitive one in Japan, where World War Two veterans and survivors still alive today remember the calamitous destruction that was brought upon Japan’s people in the aftermath of that war.
Abe made his pronouncement on Wednesday, a national holiday celebrating the writing of the Japanese constitution in 1947. Written by the United States as victors and occupiers over Japan, the constitution forever forbade the Japanese from the use or even threat of military force ever again.