||[Aug. 26th, 2004|02:03 am]
Opposition parties slam Powell for pushing constitutional change|
Saturday, August 14, 2004 at 04:00 JST
TOKYO — U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's suggestion that Japan should consider rewriting its war-renouncing Constitution in order to get a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council drew fire from opposition lawmakers in Japan on Friday.
"He's wrong," said Hirohisa Fujii, secretary general of the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.
Powell made the remarks in Washington on Thursday in an interview with Japanese reporters. He said it is entirely up to the Japanese people to decide whether to revise the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.
Tadayoshi Ichida, head of the Japanese Communist Party's secretariat, said, "You can't virtually urge another country to change its constitution to enable the exercise of armed might."
"Under its tactics, the U.S. government is pushing to change Article 9 for the worse," Mizuho Fukushima, leader of the Social Democratic Party, told reporters. "I want to strongly protest the remark, which followed the statement by Mr Armitage."
Fukushima was referring to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's reported statement last month that Article 9 is hindering the Japan-U.S. alliance.
Article 9 of the Constitution stipulates that the Japanese people "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes." (Kyodo News)