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"Constitution lacks legitimacy" - So what?

The government, lawmakers and the media have been busy building a nation-wide consensus on the necessity, if not urgency, of a constitutional amendment toward 2005, the time limit the LDP has in mind to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1955 System, or by 2006, the deadline the DPJ has set so it coincides with the 60th anniversary of the current Constitution.

Also the LDP insists the Constitution should be literally amended (kaiken) while the DPJ argues we will be better off writing a new constitution from scratch (soken).

The two camps look divided over the sheer technicalities such as how to come up with a new constitution, and when. But in reality, both parties have so many things in common when it comes to the substance. This is quite natural because the major opposition, the DPJ, is little more than a spin-off of the former intra-LDP faction founded by Kakuei Tanaka despite the media's false notion that with the recent rise of the DPJ, a modern two-party system is on the horizon of Japan's political landscape.

Among other things both of them, "modern parties", have been trying to instill into people the wrong perception that Chapter 1 of the Constitution, which defines the role of the Emperor as the "symbol of national unity", is quite OK, the sole problem lying with the war-renouncing Article 9 of Chapter 2.

To date the mainstream advocates of the constitutional amendment have based their arguments primarily on the fact that it lacks legitimacy. They say that Douglas MacArthur, or "the second emperor" as he was dubbed in his tenure as the "SCAP", as well as his occupation forces, imposed the pacifist Constitution on the Japanese against their will. From these pro-amendment people's point of view, the Japanese who couldn't but swallow what was imposed on them in 1946 were, and remain, not to blame. The peoples of postwar Afghanistan and Iraq would not agree to these childish and presumptuous views.

Here's a typical example of the legitimacy argument: In the Seiron (just argument) column of the July 26, 2004, Sankei Shimbun, Shoichi Watanabe, Professor Emeritus at Sophia University of Tokyo, compared Japan when the U.S. occupation was over to the post-German occupation France, ignoring the fact that they are not really comparable. Watanabe went on to argue that Japan should have done the same thing that General Charles de Gaulle did when he returned from exile. The first thing Charles de Gaulle did after coming back from London was to nullify every legislative measure taken under the Philippe Petain's Vichy regime (1940-1944). According to the professor emeritus, Japan should have done the same already in 1952 but at least now is the time to amend the Constitution, though belatedly. What Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara keeps rattling about all along boils down to the same absurdity.

In other words, these gentlemen who got stuck in the distant past are crusading for what we should have done 52 years ago. It is something that only lunatics can think of to turn back the clock this far when the elapse of time is measured by the "dog year".

To these pro-amendment lunatics, Chapter 1 is exempt from the legitimacy scrutiny for an obvious reason. Their favorite topic is always Article 9 of Chapter 2. It's no wonder, however, not a single advocate from the pro-amendment camp has suggested specifically how to reword Article 9 so this nation can effectively cope with the international terror and nuclear proliferation because the two major sources of threats facing us today were virtually non-existent five decades ago.

Once again the Japanese government, lawmakers, media, Tokyo Governor, pro-amendment scholars, et al. are all up to brainwashing of the entire nation so that the people look away from the real and contemporary issues such as the imperial system, the necessity of preemptive or proactive actions, and proliferating nuclear threats.

By 2056 grandchildren of these professional second-guessers and failure-mongers will have started to say that we should have done this, we shouldn't have done that, in 2004, unless a Far Eastern rogue nation or an international terrorist group has ruined this nation altogether by that time.

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