Tokyo, June 20 (FN Bureau) Residents of Tokyo held a rally outside parliament on Saturday to defend pacifist Article 9 of the constitution and reject a rise in the spending on defense and the Summer Olympics, local media reported on Saturday. Under Article 9 of the post-WWII constitution, Japan renounces the right to have a standing army or engage in wars to resolve international conflicts.
“The slogans of today’s rally are [about] the passed law, which paves the way for changing the constitution. We should reiterate the need to hold back the process of changing the constitution. Another problem is related to the coronavirus situation — it is the issue of the Olympics. Because in such a situation as we have now, the Olympics should be out of the question! These are the two problems,” one of the rally’s organizers, Ko Kinoshita, told Sputnik. The banners of demonstrators reflected the two topics and read: “Funds for coronavirus measures, instead of military spending!”, “Against changes to the constitution!”, “No revision of Article 9 of the constitution!”, “Down with the coalition of the LDP and the Komeito party!”, “Cancel the Olympics and Paralympics!” and “Stop the law on the referendum and constitutional changes!” Last week, the Japanese parliament passed a bill on a nationwide referendum to amend the constitution. The new legislation has been criticized by the opposition as an alleged step toward militarization of the country.
Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) insists that the amendments will only give a legal status to the Self-Defense Forces. It also proposes granting the government wider powers during emergencies.