May 3 marks the 69th anniversary of the implementation of the Constitution of Japan. In a Nikkei Inc./TV Tokyo public opinion poll conducted ahead of Constitution Day, exactly half of the public said they support keeping Japan’s Constitution as is, while just 40% indicated a desire to amend it. Support for the status quo has reached the 50% threshold for the first time since surveys with this question began in 2004. Japanese are growing more leery of amending the Constitution.
Of those favoring the current Constitution, 51% said they “feared a shift in Japan’s pacifistic stance.” Another 38% said “the Constitution should not be revised except in extraordinary circumstances.” In the April 2015 poll, those calling for no change to the Constitution (44%) surpassed those in favor of revision (42%) for the first time ever, and this time those favoring the status quo rose to 50%.
Supporters of changing the Constitution outnumbered opponents among respondents in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. But respondents in their 60s and 70s opposed revision, while those aged 18 to 29 supported the current Constitution by 55% to 39%.
Backers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party favored amending the Constitution. But 52% of those with no party affiliation supported leaving it as is, compared with the 36% favoring revision. The trend was even stronger among supporters of the opposition Democratic Party, who favored the status quo 77% to about 20%.
The telephone poll was conducted April 29–May 1 by Nikkei Research Inc. of men and women, aged 18 and over, nationwide on a random digit dialing (RDD) basis. A total of 2,210 phones, including both landline and mobile phone numbers, were called, and 991 responses were received, for a response rate of 44.8%.