Nearly 70 percent of voters believe Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is resorting to “improper” procedures in his drive to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
Abe plans to change the government’s long-established interpretation that war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution prohibits Japan from exercising the right to collective self-defense. His planned reinterpretation to lift the nation’s self-imposed ban on that right would come only through a Cabinet decision.
Overall, 55 percent of voters oppose the prime minister’s plan for constitutional reinterpretation concerning the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, compared with 29 percent who support it, according to the survey.
However, opposition increases when his method is called into question.
Asked how they view Abe’s strategy to drastically change Japan’s postwar security policy without a revision of the Constitution, 67 percent of respondents said it is “improper.”
Only 18 percent said the prime minister’s method is “proper.”
For a constitutional revision to go through, it must be supported by two-thirds of lawmakers in both Diet chambers and then approved in a national referendum.
Even among voters who support the Abe Cabinet or the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, around 50 percent said the prime minister’s approach is “improper.” The ratio jumps to more than 80 percent among supporters of the LDP’s junior coalition partner, New Komeito, the survey showed.
The telephone survey, conducted May 24-25, covered 3,728 voters across the nation and received valid responses from 1,657, or 44 percent.
Abe has argued that Japan needs to exercise the right to collective defense to come to the military assistance of an ally under attack and to deal with growing threats to the nation’s security in East Asia.
The prime minister said at a May 15 news conference that lifting the ban will strengthen deterrence and prevent Japan from being involved in conflict and warfare.
Although 23 percent of voters said they believe lifting the ban will help prevent conflicts from breaking out, 50 percent said allowing Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense will lead to more conflicts, the survey showed.
Seventy-five percent of respondents said Japan will more likely be involved in wars started by the United States and other possible allies if the ban is lifted, compared with 15 percent who said they do not think so.
The percentage of Abe Cabinet supporters who expect an increase in conflicts or a rising probability of Japan being involved in warfare if the ban is lifted exceeded the ratio of those who said they do not think so, the survey showed.
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