Some 48 percent of Japanese voters believe the Constitution should be amended, according to the results of a nationwide Mainichi Shimbun survey released on May 3 – the 70th anniversary of the supreme law’s enforcement.
About 33 percent of respondents to the April 22-23 survey were in favor of keeping the Constitution in its current form. Meanwhile, 46 percent stated that the Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9 should not be revised, while 30 percent think that it should. However, although more people oppose changing Article 9 than those who don’t, the figure of 46 percent represents a 6-point drop compared to the corresponding survey in April 2016.
In the 2016 survey, 42 percent of people wanted constitutional amendment, while 42 percent favored the status quo. At face value, it can be argued that the past 12 months has seen a small increase in pro-amendment sentiment. However, given that this year’s question was posed after first stating that “2017 is the 70th anniversary of the enforcement of the Constitution,” it is difficult to directly compare the 2016 and 2017 results.
Nevertheless, in this year’s survey, more people were found to be in favor of an amended Constitution that those against, across all age groups.
In response to a question about adding an item to the Constitution that would allow the extension of a lawmaker’s term in the Diet – in the case of a large-scale disaster or attack from overseas preventing a national election – 47 percent of respondents were against, and 28 percent were in favor.
Furthermore, respondents were also asked to evaluate the Constitution’s effectiveness in maintaining peace and improving people’s lives in Japan after World War II. Some 29 percent answered with “very effective,” while 47 percent said, “effective to a certain extent.” These results are similar to those returned in the April 2007 survey.