With a commanding victory in the lower house of Parliament, stage is set for Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that gives him an opportunity to move on with his stance on amending the constitution and transforming the ‘Self-defence forces’ into a well-equipped army, that sheds the outdated war-time legacy of the US-imposed document.
Along with a small partner, the ruling coalition won 312 seats in 465-member house, seizing a ‘super-majority’ in the Parliament as it already holds majority in the upper house.
After North Korea lobbed two missiles over the northern island of Hokkaido and threatened to “sink” Japan into the sea, Abe’s government, along with the US, has called for increasing sanctions and pressure to be put up against North Korea. This has also given the conservatives in Japan to call for a change in the pacifist constitution and the need for it’s own complete defence force.
Any militarization on Japan’s part would also make China and the two Koreas wary, as they have faced the wrath of Japan’s 20th century adventurism.
However, it won’t be that easy amending the Constitution. It is a tough process that goes through a national referendum. Many public surveys have shown that there is also resentment against any changes to the pacifist constitution that has served the country well in the last seven decades. The general public wants Abe to rather works towards building the economy.
Soon after victory, Abe claimed that any changes will come only after proper parliamentary debate and won’t be any high-handed use of the majority power. Though public opinion might be divided on the issue, lack of a proper opposition definitely makes Abe’s path easier.
Japan’s constitution was drafted by the US after the 2nd world war that bars it from maintaining a full-fledged military force.