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Back to the Past: Analysis of the Amendments Regarding Emperor and the National Symbols in the LDP 2012 Constitutional Draft

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 February 2017



Since the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan's (LDP) return to power in late 2012, there has been on-going discussions regarding the possibility of revising the Japanese constitution. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe has made numerous remarks regarding his intention to implement significant changes. Understandably, amendments to the controversial Article 9 as well as to the Article 96 have become the main points of interests for both journalists and scholars. Judging by the LDP's constitutional draft from 2012 there are other significant changes that the ruling party would like to implement. This article mainly analyses the proposed amendments regarding the position and significance of the emperor, national flag, and anthem, as well as separation of the state and religion. Based on textual analysis of the draft and analysis of the remarks made by Abe Shinzō regarding changing the constitution, this paper argues that, if implemented, the proposed changes would symbolically link contemporary Japan with its pre-1945 past. Furthermore, both the LDP's constitutional draft and leading politicians’ comments regarding the necessity of those amendments fit into a much broader narrative regarding Japan's historical past, and signify another attempt to reconstruct collective memory of both the Pacific War and occupation years.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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