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Japan’s Abe Backs Away from Re-Militarization Plan

June 22, 2017 (EIRNS)—A meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan yesterday to discuss the reform of the Constitution, resulted in a new proposal from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which reverses his call for removing the constitutional mandate against war, written into the post-war Constitution.

Abe, according to Asahi Shimbun today, no longer wants to scrap Article 9 of the Constitution, but calls for "maintaining the current two paragraphs of the article, which renounce war and prohibit Japan from maintaining land, sea and air forces," while only adding a paragraph recognizing the legal existence of the Self-Defense Forces, which are only authorized to defend against an invasion.

This has caused a fight with the hard-liners in the LDP, who want to revive a draft constitutional revision plan from 2012, which was never approved. That draft proposed removing the words: "land, sea and air forces ... will never be maintained and the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized," while adding words to legitimize a standing military.

Sources in Japan have suggested to EIR that Abe’s intention in his earlier support for dropping Article 9 was to establish sovereignty from the United States, which still maintains a huge military presence in Japan and has historically imposed a defacto veto power over strategic matters. The sources say that Abe’s establishment of strong ties with Russia over the past two years, explicitly against the counter-demand by President Obama, served to establish Japan’s sovereignty from Washington, so that the militarization push is no longer needed.