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Japan may revise military clause in constitution

[JURIST] A committee of Japanese lawmakers [JURIST report] met Thursday to discuss amending a pacifist clause in Japan's constitution [text], which has not been changed since US occupation forces wrote the document in 1947. Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party [official website, English version] and the country's top opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan [official website, English version], both are in favor of amending the constitution's highly debated Article 9 [JURIST report], which currently disallows the use of military force to settle international disputes and prohibits Japan from keeping a military for warfare. Lawmakers have said that the article should be more clearly written to ensure Japan's entitlement to a "self-defense" force. But a minority of the committee feel that the changes would hinder Japan's foreign relations and one member of Japan's Communist Party [official website, English version] said that amending the article would destroy the international community's trust in Japan. A two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament would be necessary to endorse any proposed amendments, after which a national referendum would take place for final approval by Japanese citizens. AP has more.

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