Proposed Revision of the Army and Navy Provisions in the Constitution

Proposed Revision of the Army and Navy
Provisions in the Constitution

1. The words "army" and "navy" will be struck out of the Constitution and they will read simply "armed forces."
Even if the time should arrive when, upon completion of allied occupation, Japan is permitted to rearm, the armed forces would be of a very limited scope such as are necessary for the maintenance of peace and order in the country. Moreover, the nation on its own part should harbour no intention of having again any army or navy such as it had before. Accordingly it is proposed to drop the words "army" and "navy."
2. Under the old constitution the command of the armed services is not considered part of government affairs, and the armed forces, belonging directly to the Emperor, are placed outside the control of the government. This has led to the disastrous abuses of the past. Under the revised constitution the command of armed forces will be exercised solely through the assistance of the Cabinet and State Ministers. On the other hand, since the new constitution will make the Cabinet responsible to the Diet and any State Minister will not be able to remain at his post, if a non-confidence resolution is adopted by the House of Representatives, there will be no danger that the armed command may be exercised against the will of the people.
3. Under the old constitution the organization and the strength of the armed forces are matters to be determined by Imperial prerogative. Under the new constitution those matters will be fixed by law, so that without the approval of the Diet not a single soldier can be added, nor a single regiment established.
4. The reason why it is considered advisable that such revisions should be made in the constitution at this time is that it will serve to provide a definite basis as regards the status and character of the armed forces in case Japan is permitted to rearm, and also to prevent the die-hard elements from clinging to their wishful thinking that Japan might some day build up such army and navy as of old. If in conformity to the actual circumstances of today when there exist no armed forces, all provisions relating thereto are left out of the new constitution, it may encourage some people to cherish secretly such illusions as mentioned above. At the same time, it will entail, in case Japan is permitted to reestablish her armed services, the necessity of revising the Constitution once more, which in turn may give rise to all manner of dispute and controversy, Furthermore, it is thought that if Japan be permitted to join the United Nations Organization, the need for rearmament might actually rise in order that she may fulfil her obligations under its charter.

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