Abe’s sagging support dims outlook for revising constitution

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cherished goal of revising Japan’s pacifist constitution has become more difficult to achieve after a plunge in his popularity and the erosion of public trust, a ruling party lawmaker said on Wednesday.

Support for Abe has plummeted to its lowest since he surged back to power in 2012 with a conservative agenda of reviving traditional values and loosening constraints on the military that centers on revising the U.S.-drafted post-war constitution.

In May, Abe made a surprise proposal to revise the charter’s war-renouncing Article 9 by 2020 to clarify the ambiguous status of its military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, by 2020.

Meeting that deadline would mean adopting an amendment in parliament next year, since pro-revision forces in the lower house are likely to lose their super-majority in an election that must be held by late 2018.

Amendments need the approval of two-thirds of both chambers and a majority in a referendum.

“There is no change in the goal towards which we are working but greater efforts are needed now to achieve that goal,” Hajime Funada, deputy head of a ruling Liberal Democratic Party task force on constitutional reform, told Reuters in an interview.

“Rather than a matter of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ towards revising Article 9 itself, trust and expectations toward Prime Minister Abe, who is advocating it, have fallen sharply,” Funada said, adding that the LDP’s junior coalition partner, the Komeito party, had also grown more cautious about amending the charter.

Amending Article 9, which renounces the right to wage war as a way to settle international disputes, is a divisive issue in Japan.

Supporters of the article see it as the foundation of post-war democracy but many conservatives see it as a humiliation, imposed after defeat in World War Two.

Amending the article would also raise concern in China and South Korea, where bitter memories of the conflict run deep.


Abe’s proposal would be to retain the two clauses of Article 9 that renounce the right to wage war and ban maintenance of air, land and sea forces, while adding a clause legitimizing the SDF.

The impact of that change is hotly debated. Proponents say it would merely inscribe existing policies in the constitution, while critics worry it would open the door to a bigger role for the military overseas.

Abe’s popularity has been battered by suspicions of scandal over favoritism for a friend’s business and by the perception among many voters that he and his aides have grown arrogant.

The prime minister is set to reshuffle his cabinet next month to try to revive his sagging support, but Funada said the impact of personnel changes would probably be limited.

“Unless he changes his attitude and his mindset, things will not improve,” Funada said.

The appearance that Abe is hurrying to amend the constitution while he himself is in office was making the party task force’s job harder, Funada said.

Abe is keen to achieve his goal in part because it eluded his grandfather, a conservative who had to resign as prime minister in 1960 due to a public furore over a U.S.-Japan security pact.

Until recently, Abe was favored to win a third three-year term as LDP leader, and hence premier, when his current term expires in September 2018, but that has become less certain.

“His feeling of wanting to try to revise the constitution while premier and if possible, succeed, is taking precedence and that has begun to be obvious,” Funada said.

“We’re in a bind.”



Netherlands: School pays Muslim pupils $571 because photo day fell during Ramadan

Two Muslim children, both sisters, missed a school class photograph in The Hague during Eid al-Adha and as a result, the school has compensated the pair 500 euros. Their parents had demanded 10,000….

lawyer for the sisters, said the incident…was a clear case of discrimination… the Cantonal Court found the school guilty and awarded the pair 500 euros each in compensation

The court capitulated to brazen Islamic supremacist parents — posturing as victims as usual — and unjustly enforced a penalty upon the school for offending the sensibilities of the Muslim children. Rather than teaching their children about integration and assimilation, these Muslim parents imparted to their children a sense of victimhood, entitlement and superiority over infidels.

Islamic supremacists are becoming increasingly emboldened because of Western weakness. All they need to do is pull out the words “discrimination,” “Islamophobia,” and “racism,” and bingo, useful idiot infidels shrink into submission.


“Dutch School Gave Muslim Pupils 500 Euros Compensation Because Class Photo Day Fell During Ramadan”, by Chris Tomlinson, Breitbart, July 12, 2017:

Two Muslim children, both sisters, missed a school class photograph in The Hague during Eid al-Adha and as a result, the school has compensated the pair 500 euros. Their parents had demanded 10,000.

The Maria Montessori School in The Hague was brought to court over the matter and accused of discrimination because the sisters were not included in a class photograph. The Cantonal Court found the school guilty and awarded the pair 500 euros each in compensation, Dutch broadcaster RTL News reports.

Laura Zuydgeest, the lawyer for the sisters, said the incident, which occurred in 2015, was a clear case of discrimination because the only people affected were Muslims. The school defended its choice saying they tried to bring in the photographer in the morning but the only time the photographer was available was when the sisters and their mother were at a mosque for prayers.

The mother of the pair originally wanted 10,000 euros for the incident and said during the trial: “Do you know how it feels when your five-year-old daughter enters the classroom every day looks at the picture and asks, ‘Mommy, why I’m not here?’ and you can not explain it to the child?”

Ms. Zuydgeest said the mother in the case was happy with the outcome.

The anti-mass migration Party for Freedom (PVV), led by Dutch critic of Islam Geert Wilders, submitted parliamentary questions on the case, asking whether the judge who presided was “crazy” and if they should be suspended from their post.

Mr. Wilders took to Twitter to comment on the case, posting an image of a woman in a full-face Islamic niqab veil and a caption telling them to use the 500 euros to buy a one-way ticket to an Islamic country.