Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies IUB

"What Do the Japanese People Want from Their Constitution?"

The Constitution of Japan is the oldest un-amended constitution in the world, but debates over its revision have picked up steam since 2012, when the Liberal Democratic Party returned to power. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared constitutional amendment to be one of his top priorities, but it is not clear whether the public shares his commitment. This talk pays attention to a specific distinction: whether amendment is necessary (presently urgent), or whether it is desirable (gradually improve). I discuss this difference through two lenses. First, I analyze the structural features of the constitution and argue that, because it leaves many features to be determined by law, it can adapt to many pressing concerns without formal amendment. Second, I examine elite and public preferences regarding constitution revision and demonstrate that there is profound disagreement on HOW to amend the document, suggesting uncertainty about the viability of the Abe Administration's proposals. Importantly, the politics of amending Article 9's "Peace Clause" is distinct from other issues, due to its high visibility and intensity of preferences among the public.
Wednesday September 04, 2019 04:00 PM
Wednesday September 04, 2019 05:15 PM
TV 245
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