Monday, May 28, 2007

Should This Be the Benchmark for Constitutional Amendment?

Article 24 (Entry into a collective security system)
1. … may, by legislation, transfer sovereign powers to international institutions.
2. For the maintenance of peace, … may join a system of mutual collective security; in doing so it will consent to such limitations upon its sovereign powers as will bring about and secure a peaceful and lasting order … among the nations of the world.
3. For the settlement of disputes between nations, … will accede to agreements concerning a general, comprehensive and obligatory system of international arbitration.
Article 25 (Public international law and federal law)
The general rules of public international law form part of the … law. They take precedence over the laws and directly create rights and duties for the inhabitants of … territory.
Article 26 (Ban on preparing a war of aggression)
1. Activities tending and undertaken with the intent to disturb peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for aggressive war, are unconstitutional. They shall be made a punishable offense.
2. Weapons designed for warfare may be manufactured, transported or marketed only with the permission of the … Government. Details will be regulated by a … Law.

Sensible, are they? Do you think the Japanese Diet will find the rest of the document helpful?


Shingen said...

They certainly might want to consider it. It worked for Germany, the only question is, is that what the executive wants out of constitutional reform?

Jun Okumura said...

Sorry, Shingen, I was trying to be ironic. The Japanese right-wing would be more than happy if they could get something like this. (It even has the draft!) Unfortunately, they'll never get anything remotely this jingoistic.

Message to world: Don't worry about us. Whatever we wind up with by way of a new constitution (itself a big if) will look like the mildest thing this side of Costa Rica.

Shingen said...

The irony wasn't lost on me, I can assure you. However, it is certainly interesting to seriously consider what Germany can get away with post-war (and particularly post-Cold War) in contrast to Japan.

It reminds me of this picture I saw on Japan Probe a few days back:

By the way, I'm a long-time reader, first time commenter, so I'd just like to say: keep up the good work.

Jun Okumura said...

Thanks, shingen.

Let me give it a try:

Europeans have been fighting wars for many centuries. It's literally an extension of diplomacy. Other than the Nazi horrors, what Germany did was not a historical aberration.

East Asia didn't have anything remotely like it with regard to Japan for quite some time, other than rare forays one way (the Mongols invade Japan) or the other (Toyotomi Hideyoshi invades Korea). In the late 19th Century, we decided to jump on the colonialism bandwagon, and the rest is bad history.

I think an explanation of the difference in Japan's relationship with the Koreas and China and that of the European powers with their former colonies lies somewhere in this vicinity. I'm sure somebody must have written about this by now, though I haven't gone looking.

Shingen said...

Yep, I'm sure there'd be an explanation somewhere within the East Asia regionalism (or lack thereof) literature.

Also the level of engagement between (West) Germany and the European powers post-war was far deeper than the engagement between Japan and its neighbours, so whether you look to the last 50 years or last few hundred years, the answer lies in diplomatic relations (and war, which as you said, to paraphrase Clausewitz, is a continuation of diplomacy by other means).

Jun Okumura said...

I agree. And the European engagement that was motivated by the WW I-WW II experience was possible in part because of that centuries-old relationship.

History has been one long educational process for Europe. Perhaps in the EU, much of what we understand as history has truly ended.