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ICAS/Temple Law School Joint Event

The LDP’s Constitutional Revisions: Turning Back the Clock?

Thursday, May 23, 2013   19:30 - 21:00

Speakers:
  • Lawrence Repeta (Professor at Meiji University Faculty of Law, and former director of the Temple University School of Law, Tokyo Campus)
  • Masako Kamiya (Professor of Law at Gakushuin University and Representative Director of the Japan Civil Liberties Union.)
  • Yoichi Kitamura (Representative Director of the Japan Civil Liberties Union and co-counsel in many noteworthy cases)

The LDP’s Constitutional Revisions: Turning Back the Clock?

The LDP Proposes Constitutional Changes to Tighten Government Control Over the People —

Will July Elections Give the Party Power to Act?

On April 28, 2012, the sixtieth anniversary of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, the Liberal Democratic Party celebrated the end to Japan’s Occupation by releasing detailed and far-reaching proposals to revise Japan’s Constitution.

Three generations of Japanese nationalists have carried the dream of fundamental change to the Constitution they say was imposed on Japan by foreign military forces. The LDP has proposed revision since its founding in 1955. Since taking office Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly declared that constitutional change is a high priority.

Will the July elections give Abe and his followers the chance to act?

Amendments to the Constitution must be approved by at least two-thirds of the members of each House of the Diet. The LDP and its allies secured more than two-thirds of the House of Representatives (the “Lower House”) in December 2012 elections. House of Councilors (the “Upper House”) elections are scheduled for July and polls indicate that the LDP and its allies will score another landslide victory, pushing them over the threshold needed for constitutional change.

The April 2012 proposals provide a clear roadmap of the LDP plans for change. Several proposals would specifically limit individual rights. They include the following:

  • Elevating maintenance of “public order” over all individual rights
  • Granting the prime minister new power to declare “states of emergency” when the government can suspend constitutional rights
  • Deleting Article 97, the Constitution’s most powerful declaration of human rights, which guarantees all constitutional rights to the people of “this and future generations”
  • Adding a new requirement that the people “respect” the kimi ga yo hymn and the hinomaru flag
  • Eliminating free speech protection for activities “with the purpose of damaging the public interest or public order, or associating with others for such purposes”
  • Hindering freedom of the press and opponents of government by prohibiting the “wrongful acquisition, possession and use of information relating to a person.”

Debate over constitutional amendment has long focused on Article 9, in which Japan renounces war, but the LDP’s most-recently proposed amendments promise many more changes that would fundamentally change the relationship between the people and the State.

A panel of experts has agreed to come to TUJ and explain the significance of these enormously important proposals and to respond to questions and comments.

They will present the details of the LDP proposals, with English translations of proposed wording of key constitutional provisions alongside the present constitutional text.

* * *
Temple University Beasley School of Law, accredited by the American Bar Association, offers classroom-based programs year-round in Tokyo, at The Temple University School of Law, Tokyo Campus. Without leaving Tokyo, students may audit courses, those who have a first degree in law or a license to practice law may earn an ABA-recognized LL.M. or Certificate in U.S. Law and in Transnational Law/International Law, and U.S. lawyers may take courses for CLE credit. Over 100 years old, Temple Law School is recognized in the U.S. for excellence in international law, trial advocacy, and legal writing.

 

 

Date & Time:
Thursday, May 23, 2013   19:30 - 21:00 (Doors open at 19:00)
Venue:
2F, Azabu Hall
Temple University, Japan Campus
2-8-12 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Moderator:
Thomas J. Dreves, General Counsel and Assistant Professor of Law
Registration:
Registration is encouraged (e-mail to icas@tuj.temple.edu), but not required. 登録なしでも参加できますので、直接会場へ起こしください。

This event is co-organized with Temple Law School.

Note: All ICAS events are held in English, open to the public, and admission is free unless otherwise noted.

Speakers:

Lawrence Repeta

Professor at Meiji University Faculty of Law, and former director of the Temple University School of Law, Tokyo Campus

Lawrence Repeta is a professor on the law faculty of Meiji University in Tokyo. He has served as a lawyer, business executive, and law professor in Japan and the United States. He is best known in Japan as the plaintiff in a landmark suit decided by the Supreme Court of Japan in 1989 that opened Japan`s courts to note-taking by courtroom spectators. He serves on the board of directors of Information Clearinghouse Japan (情報公開クリアリングハウス) http://www.clearing-house.org/, an NGO devoted to promoting open government in Japan that is affiliated with other organizations that promote individual rights. He has been awarded an Abe Fellowship by the Center for Global Partnership to conduct research at the National Security Archive, a non-profit research institute located at George Washington University  http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv. Larry is a former director of the Temple University Law Program in Japan.

Masako Kamiya

Professor of Law at Gakushuin University and Representative Director of the Japan Civil Liberties Union.

Yoichi Kitamura

Representative Director of the Japan Civil Liberties Union and co-counsel in many noteworthy cases

Yoichi Kitamura is Representative Director of the Japan Civil Liberties Union and co-counsel in many noteworthy cases, including litigation that led to the historic 2005 Supreme Court decision that found the Diet in violation of the Constitution for failing to adopt adequate voting procedures for Japanese who reside abroad.