The Trojan Horse of Abe's Constitutional Amendment Proposal

This paper argues that the new and very modest formal amendment to Article 9 pushed by PM Abe, designed to avoid controversy and debate, could serve to effectively lock in the “reinterpretation” as a de facto informal amendment to the constitution. From this perspective, the apparent reversal in the scope of Abe’s amendment ambitions, and surprising modesty of the current proposal, may be seen as a disingenuous effort to disguise the extent of constitutional change that is at stake. It may be, in essence, a Trojan Horse through which to solidify the position of the “reinterpretation.” The paper seeks to explore the legitimacy of such a move, and its broader implications, from a comparative and theoretical perspective, drawing upon recent work on both informal amendment and unconstitutional constitutional amendments.