“Imposed People” and Political Leverage of Constitutional Amendment in Japan

The right-wing advocates for constitutional amendment in Japan frequently argued the post-WWII Japanese Constitution was imposed by the GHQ (i.e. the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers). Since Prime Minister Abe Shinzo came into power in 2012, the Liberal Democratic Party (“LDP”) has been borrowing the currency of “imposed constitution” to bolster its agenda of constitutional amendment. This article tries to argue that the LDP’s strategy for constitutional amendment has two prongs: first, it functions like a populist campaign rather than a genuine constitutional commitment; second, electoral payoffs provides leverage for Abe to advance its own strategy of political economy, e.g. to enhance its control over bureaucrats, business and the media. Article 9 is a natural jump starter for the LDP to arouse the sense of national pride or national identity among Japanese citizens. In this vein, the politician pronounced for the citizens, claiming the supremacy of the “people.”