ARTICLE 9 OF THE JAPANESE CONSTITUTION (日本国憲法第9条,
Nihonkokukenpō dai kyū-jō) is a clause in the national Constitution
of Japan outlawing war as a means to settle international disputes
involving the state. The Constitution came into effect on May 3, 1947,
World War II
However, Japan maintains de facto armed forces, referred to as the
Japan Self-Defense Forces , which may have originally been thought of
as something akin to what
Mahatma Gandhi called the Shanti Sena
(soldiers of peace) or a collective security police (peacekeeping )
force operating under the
In July 2014, instead of using Article 96 of the Japanese Constitution to amend the Constitution, the Japanese government approved a reinterpretation which gave more powers to the Japan Self-Defense Forces, allowing them to defend other allies in case of war being declared upon them, despite concerns and disapproval from mainland China and South Korea, whereas the United States supported the move. This change is considered illegitimate by some Japanese political parties and citizens, since the Prime Minister circumvented Japan's constitutional amendment procedure. In September 2015, the Japanese National Diet made the reinterpretation official by enacting a series of laws allowing the Japan Self-Defense Forces to provide material support to allies engaged in combat internationally. The stated justification was that failing to defend or support an ally would weaken alliances and endanger Japan.
* 1 Text of the article * 2 Historical background * 3 Interpretation * 4 Debate * 5 International comparisons * 6 Reinterpretation in 2014 * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 External links
TEXT OF THE ARTICLE
The full text of the article in Japanese:
“ 第九条 日本国民は、正義と秩序を基調とする国際平和を誠実に希求し、国権の発動たる戦争と、武力による威嚇又は武力の行使は、国際紛争を解決する手段としては、永久にこれを放棄する。
２ 前項の目的を達するため、陸海空軍その他の戦力は、これを保持しない。国の交戦権は、これを認めない。 ”
The official English translation of the article is:
“ ARTICLE 9. (1) Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, 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. (2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized. ”
The failure of the collective security of the
League of Nations led
to the realization that a universal system of security could only be
effective if nations agreed to some limitation of their national
sovereignty with regard to their right to belligerency, and if the
Security Council which had been a "closed shop" during League of
Nations times, would open itself up to UN Members who would cede
constitutional powers in favor of collective security. Like the German
Article 24, which was incorporated in the post-war German Constitution
, and which provides for delegating or limiting sovereign powers in
favor of collective security, Article 9 was added to the Constitution
of Japan during the occupation following
World War II
The source of the pacifist clause is disputed. According to the
Allied Supreme Commander
Sailors of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense
Soon after the adoption of the
Constitution of Japan
If Article 9 is looked upon as a motion to abolish war as an
institution—as envisaged in the 1961
McCloy–Zorin Accords —then
the Korean crisis was the first opportunity for another country to
second the Japanese motion and embark on the transition toward a true
system of collective security under the United Nations. In fact,
however, in 1950, following the outbreak of the
On August 1, 1952, a new National Safety Agency (保安庁, Hoancho) was formed to supervise the NPR and its maritime component. The new agency was directly headed by Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida . Yoshida supported its constitutionality: although he stated in a 1952 Diet committee session that "to maintain war potential, even for the purpose of self-defense, necessitate revision of the Constitution." He later responded to the JSP's constitutionality claims by stating that the NSF had no true war potential in the modern era. In 1954, the National Safety Agency became the Japan Defense Agency (now Ministry of Defense ), and the National Police Reserve became the Japan Self-Defense Forces (自衛隊, Jieitai).
In practice, the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) are very well equipped and the maritime forces are considered to be stronger than the navies of some of Japan's neighbors. The Supreme Court of Japan has reinforced the constitutionality of armed self-defense in several major rulings, most notably the Sunakawa Case of 1959, which upheld the legality of the then-current U.S.–Japan Security Treaty .
In July, 2014, Japan introduced a reinterpretation which gave more powers to its Self-Defense forces, allowing them to defend other allies in case of war declared upon them. This move potentially ends Japan's long-standing pacifism and drew heavy criticism from Mainland China and South Korea, while the USA supported this move.
A demonstration in favor of maintaining Article 9, in front of
Tabata Station , in
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
The Liberal Democratic Party has interpreted Article 9 as renouncing
the use of warfare in international disputes but not the internal use
of force for the purpose of maintaining law and order. The opposing
Democratic Party of Japan , tends to concur with the LDP's
interpretation. At the same time, both parties have advocated the
revision of Article 9 by adding an extra clause explicitly authorizing
the use of force for the purpose of self-defense against aggression
directed against the Japanese nation. The
Japan Socialist Party , on
the other hand, had considered the
Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) as
unconstitutional and advocated the full implementation of Article 9
through the demilitarization of Japan. When the party joined with the
LDP to form a coalition government, it reversed its position and
recognized the JSDF as a structure that was constitutional. The
Japanese Communist Party
The interpretation of Article 9, has been determined that Japan cannot hold offensive military weapons — this has been interpreted to mean that Japan cannot have ICBMs, nuclear weapons, aircraft carriers or bomber fleets. This has not inhibited the deployment of submarines, AEGIS equipped destroyers, a helicopter carrier, and fighter planes.
Since the late-1990s, Article 9 has been the central feature of a
dispute over the ability of Japan to undertake multilateral military
commitments overseas. During the late 1980s, increases in government
appropriations for the JSDF averaged more than 5% per year. By 1990
Japan was ranked third, behind the then-
The different views can be clearly organized into four categories:
* The current PACIFISTS believe in maintaining Article 9 and claim the SDF is unconstitutional, and would like to detach Japan from international wars. * The MERCANTILISTS have divided opinions about Article 9 although the interpretation is broadened to include the SDF, and believe that the SDF's role should be retained to activities related to the United Nations and for non-combat purposes. They advocate minimal defense spending, and emphasize economic growth. * The NORMALISTS "call for incremental armament for national defense and accept using military force to maintain international peace and security". They support the revision of Article 9 to include a clause explaining the existence and function of the SDF. * The NATIONALISTS assert that Japan should remilitarize and build nuclear capabilities in order to regain pride and independence. They also advocate revision of Article 9 to promote armament.
The creation of the openly revisionist lobby
Evidently, opinions range from one extreme of pacifism, to the other
extreme of nationalism and complete remilitarization. The majority of
Japanese citizens approve the spirit of Article 9 and consider it
personally important. But since the 1990s, there has been a shift
away from a stance that would tolerate no alteration of the article to
allowing a revision that would resolve the discord between the JSDF
and Article 9. Additionally, quite a few citizens consider that
Japan should allow itself to commit the Self-Defense Forces to
collective defense efforts, like those agreed to on the UN Security
Council in the
In May 2007, the then Prime Minister of Japan Shinzō Abe marked the 60th anniversary of the Japanese Constitution by calling for a "bold review" of the document to allow the country to take a larger role in global security and foster a revival of national pride. Aside from Abe's Liberal Democratic Party , as of 2012, the Japan Restoration Party , Democratic Party of Japan , People\'s New Party , and Your Party support a constitutional amendment to reduce or abolish restrictions imposed by Article 9.
A constitutional amendment would require a two-thirds majority and
pass referendum to effect it (as per Article 96 of the Japanese
Constitution ). Despite numerous attempts by the LDP to change Article
9 of the Japanese constitution, they have never been able to achieve
the large majority required, as revision is opposed by a number of
Japanese parties including the DPJ and the
Japanese Communist Party
In the Italian Constitution Article 11 is similar to the Japanese analogue, but the use of military forces is permitted for self-defense (articles 52 and 78) and also for peace-keeping purposes, if agreed with international organizations:
“ "L'Italia ripudia la guerra come strumento di offesa alla libertà degli altri popoli e come mezzo di risoluzione delle controversie internazionali; consente, in condizioni di parità con gli altri Stati, alle limitazioni di sovranità necessarie ad un ordinamento che assicuri la pace e la giustizia fra le Nazioni; promuove e favorisce le organizzazioni internazionali rivolte a tale scopo." ”
“ "Italy repudiates war as an instrument offending the liberty of the peoples and as a means for settling international disputes; it agrees to limitations of sovereignty where they are necessary to allow for a legal system of peace and justice between nations, provided the principle of reciprocity is guaranteed; it promotes and encourages international organizations furthering such ends." ”
REINTERPRETATION IN 2014
In July 2014, Japan's government approved a reinterpretation of this article despite concerns and disapproval from mainland China and South Korea, although the United States supported the move. This reinterpretation would allow Japan to exercise the right of "collective self defense" and exercise military action if one of its allies were to be attacked. It is considered by some parties as illegitimate, posing a serious danger to Japan's democracy since the Prime Minister circumvented the constitutional amendment procedure, dictating a radical change to the meaning of fundamental principles in the Constitution by way of Cabinet fiat without Diet debate, vote, or public approval.
In May 2017, Japanese Prime Minister Abe set a 2020 deadline for revising Article 9, which would legitimize the JSDF in the Constitution.
* Golden Week
Constitution Memorial Day
The Nobel Peace Prize for Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution
Japanese people who conserve Article 9
2015 Japanese military legislation
Japan Self-Defense Forces
Japanese Iraq Reconstruction and Support Group
* Japan and the
This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/. - Japan
* ^ A B "Japan takes historic step from post-war pacifism, OKs
fighting for allies". Reuters. July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
* ^ A B "How Japan can use its military after policy change".
Independent Record. July 1, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
* ^ A B "Reinterpreting Article 9 endangers Japan\'s rule of law".
The Japan Times . June 27, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
* ^ Japan enacts major changes to its self-defense laws September
* ^ 日本国憲法
* ^ "The Constitution of Japan".
Prime Minister of Japan and His
Cabinet. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
* ^ Klaus Schlichtmann, Article Nine in Context – Limitations of
National Sovereignty and the Abolition of War in Constitutional Law,
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 23-6-09, June 8, 2009 - See more at:
* ^ Klaus Schlichtmann, JAPAN IN THE WORLD. Shidehara Kijűrô,
Pacifism and the Abolition of War, Lanham, Boulder, New York, Toronto
etc., 2 vols., Lexington Books, 2009. See also, by the same author, 'A
Statesman for The Twenty-First Century? The Life and Diplomacy of
Shidehara Kijûrô (1872–1951)', Transactions of the Asiatic Society
of Japan, fourth series, vol. 10 (1995), pp. 33–67
* ^ Douglas MacArthur, Reminiscences (1964), p. 302.
* ^ Kijūro Shidehara, 外交の五十年 ( Gaikō Gojū-Nen, that
means Fifty Years Diplomacy ) (1951), pp. 213-14.
* ^ See, e.g., Robert A. Fisher,"Note: The Erosion of Japanese
Pacifism: The Constitutionality of the U.S.-Japan Defense Guidelines",
Cornell International Law Journal 32 (1999), p. 397.
* ^ Edward J. L. Southgate, "From Japan to Afghanistan: The
U.S.-Japan Joint Security Relationship, The War on Terror and the
Ignominious End of the Pacifist State? Archived 2006-06-25 at the
Wayback Machine .," University of Pennsylvania Law Review 151, p.
* ^ Hayes, Louis D. (2001). Japan and the Security of Asia.
Lexington Books. pp. 81–82.
* ^ A B James E. Auer, "Article Nine of Japan's Constitution: From
Renunciation of Armed
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