November 17, 2017

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Save Constitutional Japan

Save Constitutional Japan was founded in 2014 by two Japanese scholars, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo University Yasuhiro Okuhira, a specialist in Constitutional Law, and Professor Jiro Yamaguchi, a political scientist at Hosei University. Since its founding, a significant number of scholars have joined the organization. All members of SCJ are academics. SCJ draws its membership from a variety of fields:  political science, international law, international relations, and peace studies. The largest number number of scholars, however, specialize in Constitutional Law (14). The second highest number of members come from the field of the Political Science.

Members of SCJ have been highly critical of Abe’s ambition to alter the Constitution, saying that he is trying to destroy it. They also claim that what he is doing is wrong from the perspective of Constitutional jurisprudence.  They argue that while it is within the government’s right to change the interpretation of an article, what the government has done amounts to an extralegal change of the Constitution. SCJ thus claims that Abe is destroying the Constitution.

Prime Minister Abe has often been criticized for acting in disregard for constitutional limits, and instead to follow his own personal ambition. In 2013 when a Congressman from the Democratic Party asked Abe a question in a session of Parliament whether he knew Professor Nobuyoshi Ashibe, who is known as the most eminent scholar of constitutional law in Japan, he said, “No.” Many observers concluded from Abe’s admission of ignorance that he was acting with little concern for its constitutionality. Professor Ashibe, who died in 1999, is the author of a text on constitutional law that is still widely used in Japanese universities.

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