Japan’s Constitution turns 70, Abe calls for new nation-building

Tokyo, Jan 4 (IANS) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that Japan should look to build a new nation in 2017, a year that will mark the 70th anniversary of the Japanese Constitution.

“Now is the time to look to the future, in anticipation of the next 70 years, and proceed with new nation-building,” Shinzo Abe said, following his customary New Year’s visit to a shrine in Japan, reported Efe news agency.

“We, who are living today, must learn from our predecessors who built post-war Japan, face our challenges head-on and fulfill our responsibilities for the future,” he added.

Japan’s current Constitution, drafted by the occupying American forces after World War II, forbids the country from maintaining its own military or participating in overseas combat missions.

In 2015, it brought in a legislative reform to exercise its right to “collective self-defence”. The reform was approved by the ruling coalition amid protests from the opposition and Japanese citizens, who believed it violated the pacifist spirit of the Constitution.

However, the clear victory obtained by Abe’s party and its allies in the Upper House elections in July has paved the way for the reform initiative.

On Wednesday, Abe also reiterated curbing the 20-year-long deflation in the country will be his top priority for 2017.