The Asahi Shimbun’s nationwide (telephone) survey conducted on Feb. 17–18 probed views on constitutional amendment. Regarding Article 9 of the Constitution, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed the addition of a clause that makes explicit the existence of the Self-Defense Forces while leaving untouched the current paragraphs. Voters are split over whether such amendment of Article 9 is necessary, with 40% saying it is necessary and 44% saying it is not.
Among male respondents, 48% said such an amendment is necessary, exceeding the 41% who disagreed. The percentages among women were opposite, with 32% saying such an amendment is necessary and 47% saying it is unnecessary.
The overall trend has not changed since the same question was asked in May 2017 when 41% of all respondents said such an amendment is necessary and 44% said otherwise.
Amendments to the Constitution are decided by national referendum after the Diet passes the amendment proposal by a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each house. Some 34% said they are “in favor” of passage by the Diet within the year, falling below the 43% who are “opposed.” Even among those who said Article 9 needs to be amended as proposed by Prime Minister Abe, 30% said they are “opposed” to passage by the Diet within the year.
[Polling methodology: The survey was conducted on Feb. 17–18 on a computer-aided random digit dialing (RDD) basis of voters nationwide with telephone calls placed by pollsters to landline and mobile phone numbers (for landlines, some districts in Fukushima Prefecture were excluded). Valid responses were received from 795 persons (out of 1,703 households found to have one or more eligible voters) for landline numbers and from 1,002 persons (out of the 1,951 persons found to be eligible voters) for mobile numbers. The valid response rates were 47% for landline numbers and 51% for mobile numbers.]