They are being hosted by two of the Sasakawa family foundations, the Ocean Policy Research Institute and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. He will speak at CSIS Pacific Forum conference on US-Japan Sea Power or as the Sasakawa folks call it An Alliance of Maritime Nations
Abe will also speak at Brookings. In his previous Washington presentations he has memorably justified his conservative views. Mr. Abe is not a fan of Japan’s constitution and uses his talks to highlight the document’s inadequacies and ways it might be circumvented. As he said in 2004, to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI):
Perhaps it was because of the trauma of defeat that postwar Japan looked upon its Constitution as an immutable code of laws. In this climate, the dominant sentiment was one that claimed that the Constitution should not be touched or changed in any way. In a sense, the whole nation was victim to a form of mind control. I believe that these tendencies must definitely be abolished.
His view of Japan’s constitution as a form of American “mind control” is common among his conservative nationalist allies. Fired Air Force General Toshio Tamogami and his supporters use that phrase often.
But what did the people who helped draft the Constitution think? The other day on a discussion group for scholars who study Japan’s relationship with the Islamic world, one of them reflected* on the legal antecedents they wrote.
Grant K. Goodman, a Professor Emeritus in History at University of Kansas and former translator for SCAP, wrote:
As a surviving member of SCAP who was present at the creation of the present Japanese Constitution, I have a slightly different take on the events in the Indian Ocean which seem to include a "stretching" of Article IX. To me, having lived as long as I have, I am still astonished and, indeed, overjoyed, that our handiwork of 1946 remains intact in 2009. Certainly in 1945-1946 we were dreamers who envisioned a Jeffersonian democracy springing up on Japanese soil, and our efforts both official and personal were directed to that end. However, I doubt that any of us had the temerity to imagine that nearly seven decades later the Japanese would still be operating under our Constitution. True, we made the amending process as difficult as possible. Nevertheless, once the Occupation ended and Japan was on its own from 1952, anything could have derailed the original document.I wonder if Mr. Abe understands the aspiration for a Jeffersonian democracy.
Thus to have the broadening interpretation of Article IX does not frighten me given the overall longevity of the Constitution and what I observe to be its almost incredible durability.
*Professor Goodman's original comment was posted in the discussion following Shingetsu Newsletter No. 1338 (April 9, 2008). This is part of a free e-mail list, but it won't appear openly at the Shingetsu Institute webpage until about the end of June. If you are interested, there are two alternatives. First, you may join the Shingetsu Newsletter e-mailing list yourself and receive the messages directly, or else you can return to their webpage at any time after the end of June when the April Newsletters will be posted. See Website: http://www.shingetsuinstitute.com