[Ed. – Some important things have already quietly changed within Japan, as Gelernter notes. But amending the constitution — for the first time since it was adopted (at Allied insistence) after WWII — is a “tectonic shift” type of move. It’s worth noting, as always, that positive U.S. leadership in the last 7 years could have put us in a very different place in 2016. Obama’s abject failure to show strength under challenges from China and Russia — challenges that affect Japan directly — is a major factor in the Japanese perception that Nihon needs to be more nationalist and bellicose.]
This week, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partners won a two-thirds majority in the legislature’s upper house, to go along with their two-thirds majority in the lower house. A two-thirds majority is required in each house to begin the process of amending Japan’s constitution. And amending the constitution is one of the central planks in the LDP’s platform. …
The LDP’s draft for an amended constitution would eliminate the prohibition on imbuing religious organizations with “political authority,” clearing the way for the return of state Shintoism and emperor worship.
The draft would also repeal the provision that the “Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes,” along with the provision that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.” (Not that Japan has, hitherto, been too strict about this particular rule: According to the Credit Suisse Military Strength Index, Japan currently has the fourth-strongest military in the world, behind only the U.S., Russia, and China.)
The new constitution also repeals the right to free speech, adding a clause stating that the government can restrict speech and expression that it sees as “interfering [with] public interest and public order.”