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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 May 24 - 30  > Japan’s ultrarightist group supports SDF legitimation in Article 9
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2017 May 24 - 30 [POLITICS]

Japan’s ultrarightist group supports SDF legitimation in Article 9

May 28, 2017
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo earlier this month sent to a constitutional revisionists’ rally a video message which proposes to add to Article 9 of the Constitution a new clause defining the Japanese Self-Defense Forces. This rally was organized by groups connected to Japan’s ultrarightist organization, the Japan Conference.

On May 30, 1997, two nationalist organizations merged into the Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi). Since then, Nippon Kaigi has been working to revise the pacifist Constitution and justify Japan’s past war of aggression by such means as encouraging successive prime ministers to pay visits to Yasukuni Shrine, the controversial war shrine. It has also promoted anachronical education based on its biased view on Japan’s cultural tradition and history. Key member organizations of Nippon Kaigi include Shinto-based religious corporations such as the Association of Shinto Shrines, Ise Shrine, Yasukuni Shrine, and Meiji Shrine.

The extreme rightist organization on its website states that it has more than 200 branches across the country and its membership includes many business leaders and intellectuals. It proclaims itself as a national campaign body with a grass-root network.

The Japan Conference has gained political influence in collaboration with pro-Yasukuni lawmakers who formed a support group soon after the conference’s foundation. Abe once served as vice secretary general of that support group. When Abe first became the prime minister in 2006, he appointed members of the parliamentary group as Cabinet ministers. The first Abe Cabinet adversely revised the Basic Law on Education and legislated to create procedures for a constitutional amendment. The Abe Cabinet waged a campaign to deny established facts concerning the wartime “comfort women” system. After returning to power in 2012, Abe again formed his Cabinet with like-minded people. Currently, 15 of the 20 Cabinet ministers are members of the Japan Conference-related parliamentary group.

Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko was once a vice president of the politicians’ group in question when she was a Dietmember. The first head of Koike’s local political party “Tomin First no Kai” was Noda Kazusa, a former Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member who was a member of the prefectural and municipal assembly members’ group supporting the Japan Conference.

Past related articles:
> New Tokyo governor appoints ultra-rightist to be her assistant [August 3, 2016]
> All new Abe Cabinet ministers from LDP are members of ‘Yasukuni’ faction [August 5, 2016]

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