John O. Haley

Document Type


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Constitutional Forum

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constitutional law, military policy, Japan


Constitutional Law | International Law | Law


Both electoral results and public opinion polls have long revealed what most observers have viewed as a paradox if not a contradiction. By significant majorities, the Japanese people appear to oppose any revision of article 9, but support the SDF and their deployment with legislative sanction. The seemingly antithetical aspects of these views can be reconciled if one accepts the proposition that the public is willing to allow an armed force but only within parameters that are still ill-defined. So long as article 9 remains, the government is constrained by the need for legislative approval and at least potential judicial objection. Thus, by gradual evolution, a consensus seems to have emerged allowing the maintenance of armed forces, but limiting their use to noncombat roles that also have explicit legislative approval.



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