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Article
Change It to Save It: Why and How to Amend Article 9
Ritsumeikan Journal of Peace Studies (2017)
  • Craig Martin
Abstract
Defenders of Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, which renounces the use of force and prohibits the maintenance of armed forces, have consistently worked to block any and all attempts to amend the provision. The government of Japan, having purported to “reinterpret” the provision in 2015, is now well positioned to finally achieve its goal of forcing some form of amendment. This article argues that the champions of Article 9 must, in order to save its most successful and core features, begin to develop alternative proposals for its amendment.

The article begins with a review of the meaning and operation of Article 9. It notes that the first paragraph, Article 9(1) (which is the prohibition on the use of force), is a clear constitutional rule that has effectively constrained government policy, but that the second paragraph, Article 9(2) (which prohibits the maintenance of armed forces and denies the rights of belligerency), has been transformed into an ambiguous standard that has been increasingly ineffective, and has given rise to a dangerous gap between norm and reality.

In arguing why Article 9 should be amended, the article explains the weaknesses in the provision that arise from the ambiguity and ineffectiveness of Article 9(2), analyzes the significant dangers inherent in the government amendment proposals, and the harm that will be done by the “reinterpretation” if it is not replaced by way of amendment. In explaining how to amend Article 9, the article provides draft language as a starting point for debate. It is designed to preserve and clarify the constraints on the use of force; eliminate the harmful gap between the current reality and the constitutional language, and establish civilian control and clear separation of powers in national security decision-making; and clarify the role of judicial review in enforcing the provision.
Keywords
  • Japan,
  • Japanese law,
  • comparative constitutional law,
  • constitutional law,
  • war powers,
  • armed conflict,
  • use of force,
  • judicial review
Publication Date
Spring 2017
Citation Information
Craig Martin. "Change It to Save It: Why and How to Amend Article 9" Ritsumeikan Journal of Peace Studies Vol. 18 (2017)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/craig_martin/12/
Creative Commons license
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons CC_BY International License.