Monday, October 31, 2005
Looks like the U.S. military might have a little help keeping China in place:|
The ruling party on Friday approved its final draft of a proposed revision of Japan's pacifist constitution that would drop a clause outlawing war and give the military a greater role in international security, officials said.
Article 9 of Japan's current constitution — drafted by U.S. occupation forces and unchanged since 1947 — bars the use of military force in settling international disputes.
It also prohibits maintaining a military for warfare, though the Japanese government has interpreted that to mean the nation can have armed troops to protect itself, allowing the existence of its 240,000-strong Self-Defense Forces.
The Liberal Democratic Party's final draft cuts the "no war" clause from Article 9, and outlines an expanded role for the military.
In the approved draft, released on the party's Web site, the section currently titled "Renouncing War" will be renamed "National Security."
The change is part of a general push by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's government to give Japan a larger military and diplomatic profile in the world. Koizumi's party has also long campaigned for replacing the U.S.-drafted constitution with Japan's own.
On Friday, Koizumi said he hoped the draft would draw public attention and promote debate on a Constitutional revision.
"The constitution is an important issue, and we need to get support and understanding from other parties and the public," Koizumi told a group of reporters. "We'll never wage a war, but we should clearly state a possession of troops for self-defense so they're not misunderstood as unconstitutional."