TOKYO— Some 1,800 people, mainly youngsters, gathered here on Sunday to protest against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempts to amend the pacifist Constitution.
The protestors, many of them college students, gathered in the Shinjuku Central Park in Tokyo, holding banners and shouting slogans such as “what should be changed is not the Constitution but the politics,” and “protect peace, oppose war”.
Izumi Kurotsu, one of the organizers of the rally, said that Article 9 of the pacifist Constitution, by which Japan renounces its right to wage war, shows Japan’s commitment to peace to its people as well as to its neighboring countries.
“The Abe administration has set a time frame for changing the pacifist Constitution. We are gathering here today to call on the people to recognize that what should be changed is not the Constitution but Japan’s politics,” she said.
Tomoko Matsumoto, a participant of the rally, said that she hopes rallies like this could help change the social atmosphere and contribute to building a society where the pacifist Constitution could be brought into better play.
Japan’s current Constitution, drawn up under the Allied occupation following the World War II, is best known for its Article 9, by which Japan renounces its right to wage war and promises that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained”.
Abe reiterated earlier this month his attempts to amend the Constitution in a video message at a gathering to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Constitution coming into force.
He said that he hopes to see a revised Constitution go into effect in 2020 under a plan that will see the first-ever change to the post war charter.
A series of national polls taken recently showed that public opinions about whether to amend the key war-renouncing clause of the Constitution remain differed.