Article 9 of the Constitution and the renunciation of war

After the Second World War, Japan was occupied by the United States until 1952, the Korean war. During that time a new constitution was formulated for the Japanese nation. In 1947 was rectified. Several aspects of this constitution are interesting, and they brought the Japanese government closer to a Western form of government. The emperor ceased to hold political functions and became a symbolic figure and an English-style parliament was created. However, one of the most notorious and important clauses of this constitution is that of the article 9.

Article 9 of the Constitution is the only one included in Chapter II of the same, which speaks of the renunciation of war. The article says the following:

“Sincerely appreciating an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people give up the war forever as the sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of solution in international disputes.

“In order to carry out the desire expressed in the preceding paragraph, no forces of land, sea or air will be maintained from now on, as well as no other military potential. The state’s right to belligerence will not be recognized”.

In other words, Japan gives up having an army to avoid using it for war. Since then the Japanese government has kept its word. However, for internal security issues the Japanese government has the Self Defense Forces, in addition to having the police. The Self-Defense Forces are responsible for establishing order in cases that go beyond the capabilities of the police, but are subordinate to the police and cannot attack civilians.

Constitution 1947

The article, the only one of its kind in the world, has allowed Japan to dispose of resources that would previously be used to maintain a military apparatus to focus on economic growth. However, for external defense purposes, the Japanese government is prohibited from using these forces. In other words, the Self-Defense Forces cannot leave the country to defend it. This vulnerability was fixed through the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between Japan and the United States, which allows the latter to deposit its military forces at the base of Okinawa. Although this treaty solves the foreign defense issue, it was received bitterly by the Japanese population and has been the subject of debate along with Article 9.

In Japanese politics there are interest groups that oppose the maintenance of the US armed forces, and they are pushing for a reform of Article 9 that allows the Japanese government to have an army. On the other hand, there are groups that oppose this and rather promote Article 9 as an example to follow for other countries.