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Japan’s post-Second World War constitution was born when Japan was occupied by Allied forces. During the first stage of the occupation, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces and legislators of the constitution thought Japan would not have a military force again. Article 9 of the Constitution renounces war and prohibits Japan from maintaining the war potential. However, as the United States changed its policy of demilitarizing Japan when the United States asked her to share the burden of maintaining the security of Japan and, for the sake of international peacekeeping, Japan gradually increased its defense capability and developed a somewhat more technical interpretation of article 9.

Article 9 does not prohibit Japan from maintaining her defense capability. Article 9 had been popular in Japan for a long time; but as the Japanese started to take their security more seriously, more people have begun to accept the idea of amending article 9 of the Constitution. The ruling party, the Liberal Democratic Party, will bring the Constitutional amendment proposal to the Diet within the next few years.

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Prepared by Sayuri Umeda, Senior Foreign Law Specialist

February 2006

Last Updated: 02/28/2014