Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A recent Kyodo News poll found 60 per cent of respondents said the Japanese Constitution should not be modified, while only 32 per cent are for changing it. This comes at a time when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to amend its pacifist Article 9.
According to the Japan Association for Public Opinion Research, the percentage of people who support maintaining the Constitution rose from 55 per cent in a July 1994.
The government changed the interpretation of the Constitution in July last year to allow Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defence, or use force to defend an ally. National security bills to implement the change are currently before the Diet.
Most survey respondents (88 per cent) cited Japan’s renunciation of war and pacifism as its best features. For 51 per cent, the respect for human rights is its best aspect.
For those who support a change in the constitution, the renunciation of war is its most problematic aspect, while for 34 per cent the main problem lies in the fact that it was written by the Allied forces who occupied Japan.
In the poll, 67 per cent said Prime Minister Abe should offer an apology for Japan’s colonial rule and aggression before and during the war when he delivers his planned address on the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.
His predecessors Tomiichi Murayama and Junichiro Koizumi offered such an apology on the 50th and 60th anniversaries, respectively. Abe is reportedly reluctant to include an apology in his statement.
More than 70 per cent of respondents said Japan should make an effort to improve its relations with China and South Korea, which have soured in recent years.
In addition, 58 per cent of those who hope to see the Constitution unchanged believe Japan is heading in the wrong direction.
Likewise, 56 per cent of people feel Japan is very likely to be involved in war in the future.