Diet deliberations start on a national referendum bill
On October 6, deliberations started in the House of Representatives, looking to enact a national referendum bill that provides for the procedure for remaking of the Constitution. The national referendum bill is aimed at opposition control and media blackout.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has announced its desire to form a coalition with the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to pass the bill and the DPJ has expressed its opinion that an early enactment is desired.
The LDP's constitutional drafting committee plans to release the draft preamble on October 28, following the announcement of the "draft New Constitution (the first draft) in August this year, and the DPJ also plans to draw up their draft proposal for constitutional revisions within this month. Both the LDP and DPJ are on the same line heading for incorporation of "Self-Defense Army," tolerance of overseas use of armed forces and elimination of Article 9 that renounces war and declares that no land, sea or air forces will be maintained.
In the Diet, there will be escalated rivalry for contribution to the procedure toward forced acceptance of the contaminated Constitution, in the form of a national referendum law, as well as for contribution to revision contents. We must strengthen our struggle to stop this dangerous move.
New constitution for full-dress renovation of the state
The "amendment" of the Constitution now being pursued is not a partial revision of Article 9 but a radical denial of the existing principles underlying the current Constitution to establish a "totally poisoned new constitution" that will replace the current in whole.
First of all, the contents of their new constitution would include the provision to establish a "Self-Defense Army," extending to easing of the principle of separation of politics and religion, limitation of basic human rights in the name of "public order," loosening of the requirements for constitutional amendment, and to introduction of "principle of sound finance" (that is reduction of social welfare and promotion of privatization) to the central and local governments. In summary, the basic nature of the "amendment" is a total denial of three principles of the Constitution -- pacifism, respect of basic human rights, and people's sovereignty. This attempt actually aims to create a new constitution for the renovation of the state catering to global capitalism - a new constitution in line with war state buildup for greater economic interests overseas as well as for full-fledged establishment of law of the jungle through neo-liberalism.
Our counterattack against this revision offense toward a totally corrupted new constitution must not wait with the slogan "Defend the Constitution" until the "showdown day," a referendum. Our struggle must get a start on this confrontation by making peace and democracy step forward in all areas.
Offensive struggle to substantiate Article 9
Before anything else, we must immediately withdraw the Japan Self-Defense Forces (SDF) troops from Iraq, which continue the unconstitutional act as an established fact. All polls conducted after the General Election indicate
that a majority of the public believes in the withdrawal of the SDF troops from Iraq, as exemplified by a report by The Mainichi Shimbun October 10 issue that 77% is against the extension of the troop dispatch period. Also in the UK and Australia, besieged by the anti-war opinions, the governments are now deliberating plans for starting the withdrawal in next May. To win early troop withdrawal through our struggle means to have our government actually admit that the troop dispatches to Iraq was a mistake, which we can leverage to block the turnaround of the Constitution.
While 58% of the polled support amendment of the Constitution, according to The Mainichi Shimbun October 5 issue, 62% of the public thinks Article 9 should not be revised (based on the same source), indicating that a strong peace-oriented sentiment is still retained among the public, resisting the promotion of war state buildup.
The direct petition campaign for enactment of a Non-Defended Locality ordinance is a vehicle for us to clear military troops off the community while establishing this peace-oriented mentality as the right to live in peace. At the same time, execution of the right of direct petition will restrict the move of power that detests and tries to limit civil movements and freedom of expression, including flyer distribution and signature collection. The Non-Defended Localities movement resists the revision of the Constitution, helps us establish Article 9 as reality and empowers community residents.
Stage up our calls for immediate withdrawal of the SDF troops from Iraq. Enhance the Non-Defended Localities movement. Through these efforts, let us block the plot to enact a fully depraved constitution. (October 10)