Thursday, July 12, 2007

NHK TV Program "Japan at the Crossroads": Reconsider the Pacifist Constitution

In the forthcoming NHK (Nihon Hoso Kyokai or Japan Broadcasting Corporation; Japanese BBC) TV series of “Japan at the Crossroads” on August 15, a forum on the pacifist constitution will be held. They want participation in to this debate from various backgrounds, and more replies to their questionnaire. This is why I received an e-mail from the director of NHK to ask my opinio0n about the forthcoming program on the pacifist constitution. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe considers changing this constitution, in order to shed the postwar mindset, and regain national dignity of Japanese people. According to the director, NHK project team found this blog through net surfing.

I met the director at NHK Broadcasting Center in Shibuya, Tokyo on Monday this week. Prior to this appointment, I replied to the questionnaire through the net, and I had to write a lot to answer every question. As readers expect, I am pro-change, or more precisely, I think the pacifist clause should be abolished completely.

There are 10 questions in the questionnaire. Among them, we talked a lot about my answer to question 2, regarding historical role of Article 9, and why I evaluate it positively. I commented as the following.

The pacifist clause of Article 9 played a crucial role to screen out fascism and punish wartime militarism. But no punishments are eternal. Just as an ex-criminal who has completed one’s prison term and is spending one’s life as a good citizen, should be accepted to the society, Japan which has established a reputation as one of top industrialized democracies, is eligible to restore the right of national defense.

In question 6, I agree with the use of force when Japanese troops are sent overseas to join multinational operations from the following reason.

International politics is a Hobbesian world dominated by the rule of power. It is not a Kantian world dominated by the rule of reason and law. Constitution defines human rights and governmental structure, but not national security policy. It is no use to bind necessary actions of the state with constitution which does not go with the reality of international politics. No one can accept one’s country destroyed simply because leaders abide by the constitution blindly.

Japan has done well to rebuild the nation through regime change, and I insisted that Japan get involved actively with global regime change in the next phase. In my view, abolition of Article 9 is a certificate to assure Japan’s position as a member of chief executive of the Western industrialized democracies.

Also, I mentioned Japan’s national foundation through “Dastu A Nyu Oh” (get out of Asian backwardness and join civilized Western nation club) and modernization since the Opium War. Particularly, I am disappointed with Japanese conservatives who do not take pride in the evolution from coercive enlightenment in the Meiji era to the Taisho Democracy driven by grassroots initiatives.

We talked about broad range of global and national security issues, including US-Japanese relations, Chinese and North Korean threats, “blind followership” to the United States, commitment to global democracy, and so forth. Some of them are not necessarily related to Japanese constitution, but very important to think of Japanese and world security.

We talked over 2 hours, and it was a very good time to discuss wide ranges of issues in detail. I do not even remember some parts of the discussion, and the director asked tough questions occasionally. He says that NHK wants to talk with as many people as possible regarding the pacifist clause. They look for some citizens who can participate in the live forum when they broadcast the program.

I shall appreciate your reply to NHK questionnaire from this link. Let’s watch the program, and think of the future of Japanese security.