Winner, International Navies Essay Contest
With the new global war on terrorism, Japan is coming to grips with Article 9 of its 1947 Constitution-which bars its armed forces from acts of "belligerency." What will be the fallout for Japan's foreign policy, now that Japanese warships are participating in Operation Enduring Freedom?
Passed into law by a vote of the Japanese Diet, the 1947 Constitution was an amendment to Japan's original 1889 Meiji Constitution. Article 9 was meant to prevent Japan from pursuing the same path of expansionism that it chose before and during World War II.
The English version of Article 9 reads, in whole: "Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of resolving international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."