Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Constitution Reform and Public Opinion

"Constitutional revision is supported by 42.5 percent of people and opposed by 43.1 percent, indicating there is a small majority opposed to reform for the first time since 1993, according to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun opinion survey.

"However, 71 percent of respondents said the political parties should be more active in discussing revision of the Constitution, with more than 70 percent saying there were some articles that should be amended or provisions that should be added to the supreme law. The survey results indicate that a growing number of people feel it is increasingly difficult to deal with today's problems under the current Constitution, which was enacted 61 years ago.

"The survey was conducted on March 15 and 16 as part of the "Japanese" survey series by The Yomiuri Shimbun.

"According to Yomiuri Shimbun opinion polls on the top law that have been conducted since 1981, pro-revision respondents have outnumbered reform opponents since 1993. However, in the latest survey, the percentage of respondents supporting constitutional reform dropped by 3.7 percentage points from last year, while anti-revision respondents increased by 4 percentage points.

"The latest results apparently reflect dissatisfaction among the public over the sudden resignation of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who strongly supported revising the top law, as well as over the prevailing political deadlock, in which the government sees no prospect of passing important bills through the Diet, because the House of Councillors is dominated by opposition parties.

"In a multiple-answer question concerning why they support revising the Constitution, 45 percent of pro-revision respondents said the current Constitution could not deal with new issues such as Japan's contribution to the international peace.

"For respondents opposing constitutional change, 53 percent said it was because Japan should be proud of the pacifist nature of the Constitution.

"Asked which provisions should be amended or what kind of provisions should be added to the top law, again with multiple answers allowed, 27 percent said Japan should be allowed to have its own military for self-defense, followed by the addition of "a right to live in a good environment" (25 percent) and amendments of provisions concerning the roles of central government and local governments (22 percent).

"Meanwhile, 46 percent said it was necessary to establish a permanent law governing overseas deployment of SDF units, exceeding the 42 percent who said no such law was needed."

By Yomiuri Shimbun(4/8/2008), Link to article (last visited 4/8/2008)

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