1. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has in recent years been credited with both reviving a faltering economy and igniting the debate on the country’s war-rejecting constitution. His proposal to amend Japan's "Peace Constitution" has been met with mixed reactions. The document drawn up under Allied occupation after World War II defines Japan as a pacifist country without a military force. Article 9 of the constitution says:
  2. "Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. "In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."
  3. To circumvent what's anticipated to be a long amendment process, Abe wants to reinterpret Article 9 and allow Japanese forces to engage beyond their territory in collective self-defense. The Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) currently serve as the country’s only armed force, but are forbidden by law to engage in combat operations. 
  4. H25 自衛官募集CM Believe Your Heart 躍動篇 15秒Ver.
  5. According to a recent survey, 53.8 per cent of Japanese oppose having a full fledged military, while 37.1 per cent are in favour. While opponents of the amendment see Japan as a pacifist nation, supporters argue that the nation needs to be prepared to defend itself against neighbouring countries like China, South Korea and North Korea. 
  6. On Reddit, ShinshinRenma argues that some opponents of Article 9 may have other motives. 
  7. The problem is not rewriting article 9. The problem is that there's a huge amount of overlap between the people who want article 9 removed and would like to see an imperial revival. And yes, to everybody else in the pacific, that is a terrifying idea.
  8. Those against Japanese militarisation organised an online petition asking for the Nobel Peace Prize to be awarded to the Japanese people for maintaining Article 9. 
  9. Abe's critics believe the prime minister is pressing a nationalist agenda. Last December, Abe stoked more tension by visiting Yasukuni Shrine, a memorial for Japan's fallen soldiers, including some war criminals. This act was widely criticised by the Chinese and South Korean governments. Abe later said he did not mean to offend anyone by visiting the shrine. 
  10. This cartoon, taken from Chinese media, mocks what they describe as Japan's attempt to cover up their past crimes. 
  11. Other instances of Abe's nationalist attitudes include pro-government changes to history textbooks, as well as downplaying World War II atrocities and comfort women
  12. The Japan Times poked fun at the government's attempts to revise history. 
  13. Others weighed in on the larger impact of these government efforts.
  14. The Stream's online community shared their views on whether Japan should have its own military force.
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