May 3, 2013
On May 3, marking the 66th anniversary since the Japanese Constitution came into effect, Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Ichida Tadayoshi released a statement and expressed his opposition to a move to revise Article 96 of the Constitution, which sets requirements for constitutional amendment. The following is an excerpt of his statement:
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has started to call for the revision of Article 96 to be a major issue in the upcoming House of Councilors election. Behind this announcement clearly lies his intention to lower the legal hurdles toward revising the war-renouncing Article 9, which is the constitutional revision advocates' ultimate goal, and to have citizens get used to the idea of constitutional revision.
As conditions for amendments to the Constitution, Article 96 requires the approval of a two-thirds majority of each House and of a majority of voters in a national referendum. This is because the establishment of and amendments to the Constitution are significant events related to citizens' sovereignty and this supreme law, which is intended to regulate the power of the state, should not be easily changed by the government in power.
To lower the requirement from a two-thirds majority to just a majority of members of each House is to deny the fundamental spirit of the Constitution to defend citizens' freedom from government abuse of power. A wide range of people, including those who support constitutional revision, have started to raise their voices against the latest attempt to change Article 96 by saying that it is "an outrageous act in disregard of the essence of the Constitution" and "rejection of the very definition of a democratic nation." Opponents point out that the current move to amend the Constitution has no reasonable basis to do so.
With its stance to defend the spirit of the Constitution, the Japanese Communist Party is calling on the general public to set aside differences of their belief, party affiliation, or basic stance to constitutional revision in order to join forces based on the common ground of opposing revision of Article 96. The JCP is engaged in efforts to develop this cooperation.
Japan's Constitution has pioneering principles, such as sovereignty of the people, lasting peace, fundamental human rights, parliamentary democracy, and local autonomy. What the national government needs to do is to maintain these principles and fully implement them. The JCP is determined to further struggle with the public to turn Japan's policies into ones which fully reflect the Constitution.