Abe sticking with goal to seek constitutional amendment on SDF by 2020
Japan Today -- May 04
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday he maintains his goal of Constitution by 2020 as the country marked the 72th anniversary of the supreme law coming into force.

"My thoughts haven't changed," Abe said in a video message shown at a pro-amendment rally in Tokyo, touching on a proposal he made at the same rally in 2017 to put into force a new supreme law by 2020 through rewriting the war-renouncing Article 9.

He reiterated his view that Article 9 should be revised by adding an explicit reference to the Self-Defense Forces, with the aim of bringing an "end to the debate over the constitutionality" of Japanese troops.

"I will create an environment in which all SDF members can carry out their missions with great pride," Abe said in the video message.

Article 9, which when read literally, prohibits Japan from possessing military forces and other "war potential," has greatly complicated the status of the SDF. To ensure consistency, the government frames the SDF as an entity different from ordinary militaries, with use of force strictly limited to self-defense.

Abe is apparently eager to leave a legacy, having said his current third term as ruling Liberal Democratic Party president through September 2021 will be his last. He cannot serve four consecutive terms without a change to party rules.

The video message released Friday could be seen as part of his efforts to reassure conservative supporters at a time when talks on the issue have shown no progress in the parliament.

憲法改正への意欲は失っていないようだ。 新天皇の即位に伴う行事などを終えて休暇中の安倍総理大臣。3日は学生時代の友人らとゴルフを楽しんだ。その安倍総理のビデオメッセージが憲法改正に関するフォーラムで公開された。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
May 20
Officials of Japan's southwestern island town of Yakushima say all the people stranded on a mountain have descended by Sunday evening. (NHK)
May 20
Japanese seismologists believe that nearly 99 percent of their predictions related to massive earthquakes in the Pacific off central and western Japan are likely to prove wrong, a survey conducted by Kansai University showed Sunday. (Kyodo)
May 20
In recent years, we've heard a number of disturbing accounts involving teachers hitting students at Japanese schools, and this week, another disturbing case came to light, when a foreign English-language instructor was seen slapping a two-year-old child during a class at a child daycare facility. (Japan Today)
May 20
Police in Hidaka town, Hokkaido, have arrested a 29-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder after he shot his father with an arrow from a crossbow. (Japan Today)
May 20
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump are expected to sign an agreement on joint lunar exploration and other space-related projects when they meet here May 27, seeking to stay a step ahead of China and other rivals. (Nikkei)
May 18
Japan is ready to mine Mars' largest moon after successfully completing all of the compulsory "space contamination" paperwork. (nypost.com)
May 17
A report released by a global union federation has demanded better conditions for laborers working on the construction of Tokyo Games facilities after several "alarming" alleged labor violations were uncovered. (Japan Today)
May 17
Japan's Hayabusa2 probe has aborted its descent to asteroid Ryugu after it reached around 50 meters above the surface. The probe was supposed to drop a marker on the asteroid to prepare for another landing. (NHK)
May 17
The government said Thursday it plans to reduce the number of dementia patients in their 70s by 10 percent over the next decade, setting the first such numerical goal to curb growing welfare spending at a time when the Japanese population is rapidly aging. (Japan Today)
May 17
A major red light district in Osaka will be closed during the Group of 20 summit in late June, the first such decision in 30 years, the local restaurant association said Thursday. (Japan Today)