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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 May 9 - 15  > SDF-affiliated organization promotes anti-constitution signature campaign
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2018 May 9 - 15 [POLITICS]

SDF-affiliated organization promotes anti-constitution signature campaign

May 9, 2018

A Self-Defense Forces-affiliated organization is engaged in a signature campaign calling for constitutional revision in line with proposals by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, Akahata has learned.

The organization in question is a public interest incorporated association “Taiyukai” which currently consists of about 72,000 retired SDF members who hold full membership and about 170,000 SDF servicepersons who are registered as “supporting members”. Taiyukai has its head office in the Defense Ministry’s office building located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward.

In response to an Akahata inquiry, a Taiyukai official said that the association in 2015 participated in the signature-collecting campaign which was initiated by a pro-constitutional revision organization, whose co-head is the honorary chairman of the ultra-rightist anti-constitution group Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), with the aim of revising the war-renouncing Constitution to stipulate explicitly the legal status of the SDF in Article 9 and to incorporate an emergency clause. The campaign’s aim corresponds with what PM Abe intends to do.

The association’s Tokyo local in its 2017 annual report pointed out that with PM Abe’s push for constitutional amendments, a constitutional referendum became more likely. It called on association members to work even harder to collect signatures. Meanwhile, the Taiyukai action program for 2018 declares that it will work for the success of the campaign.

All SDF members have the obligation to respect and uphold the supreme law under Article 99 of the Constitution. Furthermore, their political activities, with the exception of the exercise of the voting right, are strictly limited under Article 61 of the SDF Act.

Taiyukai explained to Akahata that active SDF members do not directly take part in the signature campaign. However, the association receives support from the SDF in various forms such as recruitment of new members and collection of membership fees.

Staff offices of the Ground, Air, and Maritime SDF in their directives request all SDF department heads to encourage retired personnel and active members to enter Taiyukai. The GSDF staff office directive stipulates that Taiyukai membership fees are gathered at each garrison and sent to the Taiyukai head office.

Past related article:
> PM Abe in New Year’s address expresses intent to step up attack on Article 9 [January 5, 2018]
> Abe’s proposal on Article 9 aimed at hampering citizens’ collaboration [May 14, 2017]
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