Introduction “Article Nine is now becoming dangerous toJapan because it hampers collective defense with its allies. North Korea’snuclear weapons threaten Tokyo and the world, and China is expanding itsmilitary reach.
Japan needs a military with offensive capabilities that cantake part in joint military action when Japan isn’t directly under attack.”(THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, May 8, 2017) Do we really have to change the constitution?Japan is now facing the really important turning point of its history under theAbe’s administration. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took a gamble when hecalled early elections in 2017. After, his party and coalition partner won morethan two-thirds of the seats in parliament. He the win is a vote of confidencefrom the public – one he sees as a green light to change Japan’s pacifistconstitution. Abe is particularly keen on the move given the threat posed bynearby North Korea. But what would a stronger Japanese military mean for theregion? To look at this phenomenon through the glassof International relations Theory, I’d say Japan is now walking towards morerealistic point of view.
Under the threat of North Korea, and the rise ofChina, we Japanese citizens are slowly understanding the power transition ofthe world. Plus, as in the Wall Street Journal article says, and under thepresidency of Trump, the U.S. is basically pushing Japan to change itsconstitution again.
We could say, if Japan would actually change theconstitution in near future, that would be the second time changing the constitutionsomehow by the intension of the “foreign actor” United States. Therefore, I’m going to apply politicalrealism to this phenomenon, Japan’s constitution amendment movement and its Abe’sattempt. And I set one more important question here, Is the Japaneseconstitution really a “pacifist” constitution.
The Constitution The current Constitution of Japan waspromulgated on November 3, 1946, and came into effect on May 3, 1947. One of the Constitution’s distinctivefeatures is its embrace of pacifism. Article 9 of the Constitution, which renounces war, is considered unique. Japan is allowed Jieitai, the Self DefenseForces (SDF): the Air SDF, the MaritimeSDF, and the Ground SDF. They cannot becalled land, sea and air forces (gun) because article 9 prohibits Japan frommaintaining military forces. However, the SDF were named, many havebelieved the SDF is military and the existence of the SDF is unconstitutional.
Of course, the government has interpreted theConstitution in a manner in which the SDF would not be unconstitutional. The governmenthas developed a somewhat unique interpretation of article 9 and its relatedrules in order to legalize the existence of the SDF, and has also putlimitations on the SDF in the spirit of article 9. As the government’s interpretation of article9 has developed further, many think the interpretation has begun to deviate toomuch from article 9’s language. Thegovernment interpretation has emerged at a time that the United States hasdemanded more cooperation from Japan in maintaining Japan’s military security. TheLiberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has been the ruling party for most of theera after the Second World War, has discussed amending the Constitution,especially article 9, but resistance has been strong. It once looked impossible to amend article 9 becausethe majority of Japanese people would not support the amendment.
However, global political and security issuesimpacting Japan have changed as I mentioned above, as have the viewpoints ofthe Japanese people. Recently, there arerealistic opportunities to amend article 9. (liberty of congress: Sep29,2015) Who’s the proposer? In the process of readingarticles about article 9 and amendment movement to it, I actually encounteredsome really interesting hypothesises that mainly being argued by Japanese scholars.There is the big question “Who’s actually the proposer of article 9”. Ipersonally believe that Shidehara Kichijiro the Prime Minister at the time wasthe proposer of article 9.ShideharaKijuro (1872-1951) was an important figure in Japan’s modernhistory as adiplomat,bureaucrat, and politician.
Shidehara was envoy to the Hague in 1914,ambassador to Washington between 1919 and 1922, minister for foreign affairsbetween 1924-1927 and 1929-1931, and Japan’s first postwar prime minister underthe occupation (1945-1946) and instrumental in introducing in Japan’s postwarconstitution Article 9, dealing with the abolition of war. (Erik Paul) Here’s the two theories that havemainly argued. The first one is that it came from Douglas MacArthur,and the second is that it came from then prime minister Kijyuro Shidehara. Andabout the MacArthur theory, both MacArthur and the United States were concernedabout the rearmament of Japan, so in order to avoid that, they included theclause of pacifism in the Constitution. The article of renunciation of war,stated in MacArthur’s three principles (also known as MacArthur Note), is asfollows: War as a sovereign right of the nation isabolished. Japan renounces it as an instrumentality for settling its disputesand even for preserving its own security. It relies upon the higher idealswhich are now stirring the world for its defense and its protection.
NoJapanese army, navy, or air force will ever be authorized and no rights ofbelligerency will ever be conferred upon any Japanese force. However, on the side of the Shidehara theory,Prime Minister Shidehara visited MacArthur on January 24, just before theannouncement of MacArthur’s three principles, and Michiko Hamuro, the daughterof Ohira, heard from her father what Shidehara talked about with KomatsuchiOdaira, the Privy Councilor, and regarding this conference, she wrote: Shidehara said that starting from theidealistic position that the world should not maintain any military, to make asociety without war we should renounce war itself. Then, MacArthur suddenlystood up, and grasped Shidehara’s hand with both hands, and, full of tears, hesaid, that is right. Shidehara was a little surprised by this. MacArthur seemedto think about doing something good for Japan as much as possible, but someparts of the U.S.
government, some members of GHQ, and also the Far Eastcommittee began an argument that had a tremendous disadvantage for Japan.Countries such as the Soviet Union, Holland, and Australia feared the institutionof the Emperor itself. Therefore, they insisted that to abolish emperor system,the Emperor needed to be judged as a war criminal. MacArthur seems to have beentroubled about this very much.
Therefore, MacArthur thought that the idealismof Shidehara, the announcement of renunciation of war, need to be done as soonas possible, and show that Japanese people do not cause war in the world andget trusts of foreign countries, and clearly define that Emperor is a symbol ofJapan in the constitution, so we can start to keep Emperor system without theinterference of various countries. Both of them agreed that there is no othermethod to keep Emperor System in Japan, so Shidehara made up his mind to acceptthis draft. In addition, MacArthur tells in his autobiography Reminiscences(1964) that the article of war renunciation was suggested by Shidehara, supportingthe opinion that Article 9 was proposed by Prime Minister Shidehara. However,Shigeru Yoshida, who became the prime minister after Shidehara, denied thistheory in the book The Yoshida Memoirs (1957), and mentioned that GeneralMacArthur had declared his intentions earlier than Shidehara.
(Shinya Watanabe) Guy Almog, from University of Haifa Departmentof Asian Studies, argues “The most influential figure in the process ofcreating the new Japanese constitution was undoubtedly General DouglasMacArthur, who was appointed by President Truman as the Supreme Commander ofthe Allied Powers (SCAP). It is reasonable to begin this discussion withMacArthur, who was not only the most influential among the figures involved inthe creation of the constitution, but also the one who ultimately had the finalsay in this matter as in others.” However, quite surprisingly, according toMacArthur’s 1964 memoirs, the idea of Article 9 was actually proposed to himbefore the release of his famous three notes (the so called “MacArthurNotes”)16 by Prime Minister Shidehara Kij?r? on January 24:Shideharathen proposed that when the new constitution became final that it include theso-called no-war clause. He also wanted it to prohibit any militaryestablishment for Japan—any military establishment whatsoever. Two things wouldthus be accomplished. The old military party would be deprived of anyinstrument through which they could someday seize power, and the rest of theworld would know that Japan was never intended to wage war again.
He added thatJapan was a poor country and could not really afford to pour money intoarmaments anyway. Whatever resources the nation had left should go tobolstering the economy. (MacArthur, 1965) (Guy Almog, 2014) Is it really a “Pacifist” constitution? As Guy Almog argues s in his article, assumingShidehara had indeed promoted this line of thought, there was nothing”pacifist” about it, as the reasons he voiced to MacArthur did notderive from a moral attitude that deems the participation in any war asimpermissible. The reasons he presented were much more a matter of preferenceand practicality. Japan should ban “any military establishmentwhatsoever” not because it was inherently immoral, but because this actionwould satisfy the other nations, and at the same time prevent the formermilitarist leaders who had led Japan to disaster from regaining strength. Inaddition, Japan could not afford the creation of new armaments given itswretched postwar economic condition in which 64 cities were destroyed by firebombing and two by nuclear bombs.Thus,if these were the reasons behind Shidehara’s proposal, we can safely determinethat he was not truly a “pacifist”, but rather a very practical person.
Thispracticality can be seen in an interview made years later with Shidehara’s son,Michitar?, who stressed that the point of his father’s suggestion to MacArthurwas a “universal disarmament” but certainly not a “unilateraldisarmament,” since he did not dwell in “illusory idealism”(McNelly, 2000). Indeed, who would not desire an eventual “universaldisarmament”? The road to this dream, however, seems very different in theeyes of the pacifist and the just war theorist. Pacifism demands”unilateral disarmament” regardless of other nations’ actions, sinceit totally forbids any participation in war (and without arms, one cannotparticipate in a war). Although JWT strives to eventual peace, it does notsupport such notions. (Guy Almog, 2014) As above, we can tell Shidehara himself was arealist and really a practical person. He considered the world situation at thetime and with all the realistic way of analsis to the world, he finally reachedhis ultimate answer “article 9, the abolition of war”. Was Macarthur a pacifist? We can even look at Macarthur ‘sretirement speech.
As follows:“I have constantly called forthe new political decisions essential to a solution. Efforts have been made to distort my position. It has been said in effectthat I was a warmonger.
Nothing could be further from the truth. I know war asfew other men now living know it, and nothing to me–and nothing to me is morerevolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its verydestructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a means ofsettling international disputes. Indeed, the Second Day of September, 1945, justfollowing the surrender of the Japanese nation on the Battleship Missouri, Iformally cautioned as follows: “Men since the beginning of time have sought peace. Various methodsthrough the ages have been attempted to devise an international process toprevent or settle disputes between nations. From the very start workablemethods were found in so far as individual citizens were concerned, but themechanics of an instrumentality of larger international scope have never beensuccessful. Military alliances, balances of power, Leagues of Nations, all inturn failed, leaving the only path to be ‘by way of the crucible of war. Theutter destructiveness of war now blocks out, this alternative.
We have had ourlast chance. If we will not devise some greater and more equitable system,Armageddon will be at our door. The problem basically is theological andinvolves a spiritual recrudescence and improvement of human character that willsynchronize with our almost matchless advances in science, art, literature andall the material and cultural developments of the past 2000 years.
It must beof the spirit if we are to save the flesh. ” But once war is forced uponus, there is no other alternative than to apply every available means to bringit to a swift end. War’s very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.
In war there can be no substitute for victory.” (Douglas Macarthur,1951) He pretty much predictedeverything in his retirement speech, just like he knew what’s going to happenfor the next 70 years, By his speech, we can tell that Macarthur was alsoperson who was having realistic point of view. As for MacArthur, calling hima “pacifist” would be utterly grotesque. He was an active andexperienced general who had participated in his fair share of wars, which hebelieved to be necessary and moral.
MacArthur of course subsequently commandedthe United States’ troops in the Korean War until his dismissal from command byPresident Truman (due to several pugnacious public statements regarding China).In addition, MacArthur ordered (or “allowed”) the creation of theJapanese NPR (National Police Reserve), which later became the JSDF (Japan Self Defense Force). (Guy Almog, 2014)Conclusion Once I remember, my grandfather told me how importantthe article 9 could be, not only for Japanese people but also for our humansociety.
My grandfather has been served as a member of Japanese military in Manchuria(??). Sincewhen he was still 18 years old, around 1940 to 1945. He spent all his youth in there Manchuria,as an army, and he told me that article 9 is the crystal of blood, tears and sweatsof Japanese citizens and all the victims of the war around the world. And now,Abe is claiming that he’s going revise the constitution by 2020. He says, it isbecause the constitution, article 9, is not realistic enough and old fashion, itdoesn’t fit the time we’re living right now.
And it’s the same logic for themany pro-amendment advocates. However, whatif the constitution has made already in a super realistic way? Shidehara haseven said this article 9 is truly a far-seeing article. And as I mentionedabove, both Shidehara and Macarthur could be the realist. Then, how could article9 be an “antique” “idealistic” “pacifistic” constitution that has imposed bythe US? I see article 9as actually a super “modern” and “realistic” constitution that is truly far-seeingand going way ahead of us and the world situation right now.
Shidehara andMacarthur GHQ have created article 9, because they truly believed thatabolition of war is the only realistic way to achieve peace in this world withnuclear weapons. Shidehara mentioned this in an interview held in 1964. He claimedthe only realistic way to achieve peace and balance the world is that onenation totally give up on military power and completely abolish any war. And startto build international cooperation with the other nations.
When we have debatesabout the constitution, there are people often say that “The Japanese constitutionhas imposed by the U.S.”.
But if, Shidehara was actually the proposer of thearticle, which I’m assuming so with all the evidences, then this argument wouldbe nonsense. Therefore, thecurrent article 9, I understand it as a pretty appropriate constitution forboth Japan and International society. As a reality, Japan haven’t had war forthe last 70years since the end of WW2. That is, as it is mentioned in theconstitution, we accomplish the sentence “Japanese people forever renounce war”so far.
But if, we revise the article and reform the SDF to an offensivemilitary, the future would be different. The realistic path Japan is walking onnow, we need to reconsider it if it’s really a “realistic” decision. Yuki Wataifrom University of Warwick, mentioned in his article. “Although much depends onthe domestic political situations, Japan’ security policy will be furtherexpanded and enlarged through future constitutional reinterpretation orpossibly the revision – making Japan lean towards more of a neo-realist type ofbehavior. If this happens, the period of the post-cold war and the time ofrevising the constitutions will be characterized as ‘a slow, yet fundamentaltransformation into a normal country’ with the possibility of escalatedtensions in the Asia-Pacific – the second Cold War.” (Yuki Watai) Shidehara, I believe, at the time he alreadyknew that having “power” against “power” wouldn’t be a realistic strategyanymore, he knew that article 9, abolition of war and international cooperationcan be the next “power” to balance this anarchy filled with nuclear weapon. Abe’sattempt and the US’s push of this amendment movement on article 9, seems likeit is happing in a really bad and radical way, not as like after WW2 whenShidehara and Macarthur had the agreement. It is also because of article 9, Ithas been prevented japan from any war.
Once, Ishibashi Tanzan the 55th PrimeMinister of Japan said, “To keep Japan’s independence and safety, if it comesto consuming the national strength of expansion of armaments, not only can younot fulfill national defense, but destroy the country”In article 9, I see there’s thisvery important evidence and hope that international cooperation will be thenext “realistic” power in international relations.References?Douglas Macarthur(1951)https://americancenterjapan.com/aboutusa/translations/2378/#enlist?Erik Paul Japan in the World: Shidehara Kijuro, Pacifism, andthe Abolition of War: A book review by Dr.
Erik Paul?Guy Almog (2014) http://apjjf.org/2014/12/36/Guy-Almog/4177/article.html ?Klaus Schlichtmann (2009)Japanin the World: Shidehara Kijuro, Pacifism, and the Abolition of War?Liberty of congress (Sep 29,2015) https://www.loc.gov/law/help/japanconstitution/article9.
php?Nelly, Theodore (2000)The Origins of Japan’sDemocratic Constitution. Lanham, Md: University Press of America. ? Sharon H. Nolte (1987)Liberalism in Modern Japan: Ishibashi Tanzan and HisTeachers, 1905-1960 ?Shinya Watanabe http://www.shinyawatanabe.net/en/writings/content238.html?THE WALL STREETJOURNAL (May 8, 2017) https://www.wsj.com/articles/japans-constitutional-gamble-1494285810?Yuki Watai http://papers.iafor.org/wp-content/uploads/papers/iicj2017/IICJ2017_35536.pdf?Yusuke Suzumura Logical Structure ofIshibashi T