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OPINION POLLS

Opinion poll & results from Kyodo News survey on the Constitution

  • April 26, 2018
  • , Tokyo Shimbun , p. 7
  • JMH Translation

Questions & answers (%)

 

Q1: May 3 will mark the 71st anniversary of the Constitution of Japan taking effect.  Constitutional amendment is now being actively debated by the Diet and political parties. Are you interested in the issue of constitutional revision?

 

Interested

28

Somewhat interested

45

Not very interested

22

Not interested

4

No answer (N/A)

1

 

Q2: Do you think constitutional amendment is necessary? Or do you think it is not necessary?

 

Necessary

19

Somewhat necessary

39

Not very necessary

26

Not necessary

13

N/A

3

 

Q3: (Only for those who said “necessary” or “somewhat necessary” in response to Q2) What is the main reason you think so? (Respondents: 1,110)

 

The articles and content of the Constitution are outdated

64

New rights and responsibilities as well as provisions need to be added

26

The Constitution was imposed on Japan by the United States

4

The Constitution has never even once been amended since its enactment

5

Other answers (O/A)

0

N/A

1

 

Q4: (Only for those who said “not necessary” or “not very necessary” in response to Q2) What is the main reason you think so? (Respondents: 750)

 

Peace has been maintained by embracing the principle of the renunciation of war

42

If the Constitution were amended, there is a risk it would lead to a “military buildup”

32

If the Constitution were amended, fundamental human rights would be limited

4

There are no problems with the current Constitution

20

O/A

1

N/A

1

 

Q5: (Only for those who said “necessary” or “somewhat necessary” in response to Q2) What do you think should be the focus of deliberations on constitutional amendment? Select up to two responses. (Respondents: 1,110)

 

Preamble of the Constitution

4

Clauses on the emperor system

14

Article 9 and the Self-Defense Forces (SDF)

60

Clause on fundamental human rights

8

Explicit statement of environmental rights

3

Explicit statement of the right to know and privacy

14

Parliamentary system, including whether Japan should have a unicameral or bicameral system

7

Electoral system, including eliminating “combined constituencies” in Upper House elections

5

Creation of basic principles for the decentralization of power and local autonomy

6

Creation of a constitutional court

1

Article 96, which provides the requirements for initiating constitutional amendment

4

Creation of a state-of-emergency clause for use in the event of a major natural disaster or the like

26

Creation of a clause on fiscal discipline

8

Improving education and making it free of charge

19

O/A

1

N/A

2

 

Q6: Do you think that Article 9, which stipulates that Japan “renounces war” and shall “never again maintain war potential,” needs to be amended? Or do you think that is not necessary?

 

Needs to be amended

44

Does not need to be amended

46

N/A

10

 

Q7: (Only for those who said “needs to be amended” in response to Q6) Why do you think Article 9 needs to be amended? (Respondents: 851)

 

Because some say the Self-Defense Forces are unconstitutional under the current Constitution

22

Because Japan’s security environment is changing with North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and China’s military buildup

61

To enable the SDF to be more active overseas

3

Because this is necessary to enhance Japan’s alliance with the United States

2

To limit the SDF’s scope of activity to “strictly defensive national defense”

10

O/A

1

N/A

1

 

Q8: (Only for those who said “needs to be amended” in response to Q6) In the case that Article 9 were amended, what do you think needs to be most emphasized? (Respondents: 851)

 

Explicitly stating the existence of the current SDF

47

Explicitly stating that the SDF is a military

14

Creating provisions on the SDF’s international contribution

12

Creating provisions that limit the SDF’s activities overseas so that they are not expanded endlessly

24

O/A

2

N/A

1

 

Q9: Paragraph 2 of Article 9 states that Japan shall never again maintain land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential and that the right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has proposed that the existence of the SDF be explicitly stated in Article 9 while leaving paragraph 2 untouched. How do you think this should be handled?

 

The existence of the SDF should be explicitly stated while leaving paragraph 2 of Article 9 untouched

40

Paragraph 2 of Article 9 should be deleted and the purposes and nature of the SDF explicitly stated

28

There is no need to explicitly state the existence of the SDF in Article 9

29

N/A

3

 

Q10: Security legislation was enacted and enforced under the Abe administration. The legislation changes the conventional interpretation of the Constitution and allows Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense to a certain degree. Some insist that the security legislation is unconstitutional. What do you think about the security legislation in relation to the Constitution?

 

The security legislation is unconstitutional and should be repealed

31

I don’ t think the security legislation is unconstitutional, so there is no need to amend the Constitution

39

The Constitution should be amended to fully allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense

25

N/A

5

 

Q11: Some say that “free education and enhancement of education” should be explicitly stated in the Constitution. What are your views on this?        

 

The Constitution should be amended to incorporate free education and the enhancement of education

28

There is no need to amend the Constitution because the issues of free education and enhancing education can be handled through legislation

70

N/A

2

 

Q12: In the constitutional amendment debate, there is a proposal to strengthen the powers of the cabinet and create a clause that makes it possible to limit individual freedoms, including freedom of movement, to respond to emergency situations, such as large-scale natural disasters and armed attacks from outside. Are you in favor of or opposed to this?

 

In favor

42

Opposed

56

N/A

2

 

Q13: In the event of a state of emergency, there is a chance that it will not be possible to hold Lower House and Upper House elections and that the legislative branch may not function. A proposal is being considered to make it possible to lengthen the terms of Diet members, which are stipulated in the Constitution as “four years for the Lower House” and “six years for the Upper House.” Are you in favor of or opposed to this?

 

In favor

32

Opposed

66

N/A

2

 

Q14: In the July 2016 Upper House election, “combined constituencies” were used where “Tottori and Shimane Prefectures” were made into a single constituency as were “Tokushima and Kochi Prefectures.” To eliminate “combined constituencies,” the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is considering a proposal to amend the Constitution so that one or more Upper House delegates is elected from each prefecture at every election. What are your views on this?

 

The Constitution should be amended so that at least one Upper House member is elected from each prefecture

33

The electoral system should be radically reformed using legislation, rather constitutional revision, to both rectify the disparity in the value of a single vote and eliminate “combined constituencies”

47

The current electoral system with its “combined constituencies” should be maintained; no constitutional amendment is necessary 

15

O/A

1

N/A

4

 

Q15: In September last year, Prime Minister Abe dissolved the Lower House even though the Lower House members had more than one year left in their terms. The government interprets the Constitution as allowing the prime minister (cabinet) free exercise of the right to dissolve the Lower House. Some say, however, that the Constitution should be amended to add limitations to the prime minister’s (cabinet’s) right to dissolve the Lower House. What are your views on this?

 

Limitations on the right to dissolve the Lower House should be added

57

There is no need to add limitations on the right to dissolve the Lower House

40

N/A

3

 

Q16: The Constitution stipulates that the Emperor is the “symbol of the State and of the unity of the people.” What do you think of the emperor system?

 

The emperor should continue to be a symbol as he is today

89

The emperor should be given political powers

4

The emperor system should be abolished

7

N/A

0

 

Q17: Currently, imperial succession is limited to men. Are you in favor of or opposed to allowing “female emperors”?

 

In favor

83

Opposed

16

N/A

1

 

Q18: The Constitution contains provisions saying that fundamental human rights shall be respected. Do you think that your human rights are protected by the Constitution?

 

My fundamental human rights are protected

17

Somewhat protected

68

Not very well protected

11

Not protected

3

N/A

1

 

Q19: Some say that new rights, including “environmental rights” and the “right to know,” that are not expressly stipulated in the Constitution should be explicitly stated. What are your views on this?

 

New rights should be expressly stipulated

62

There is no need for new rights to be expressly stipulated

36

N/A

2

 

Q20: The National Diet is a bicameral institution composed of the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors. Some say that a “unicameral” system should be adopted. What are your views on this?

 

The Diet should be unicameral

33

The Diet should be bicameral

66

N/A

1

 

Q21: For the Diet to initiate constitutional amendments requires a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each house. Once the amendments are initiated, they are submitted to the people for ratification in a national referendum. Some say that this stipulation should be relaxed to “a majority,” for example. Are you in favor of or opposed to relaxing the requirements for initiating constitutional amendments?

 

In favor

30

Opposed

69

N/A

1

 

Q22: Prime Minister Abe has expressed a strong desire to amend the Constitution. Are you in favor of or opposed to constitutional amendment under Prime Minister Abe?

 

In favor

38

Opposed

61

N/A

1

 

Q23: Prime Minister Abe says he aims to bring an amended Constitution into force in 2020. The LDP aims to have the Diet initiate amendments within 2018, to have a national referendum held, and finally to bring into force an amended Constitution in 2020. Are you in favor of or opposed to this schedule?

 

In favor

36

Opposed

62

N/A

2

 

Q24: The law on national referendums to seek the people’s will on constitutional amendments [Act on Procedures for Amendment of the Constitution of Japan] states that campaigning activities for and against the amendments can be freely conducted, and it does not stipulate a ceiling on funding. Some say that the national referendum law should be revised to introduce stronger restrictions. Are you in favor of or opposed to this?

 

In favor

51

Opposed

46

N/A

3

 

Q25: It has been proposed that national referendums on constitutional amendments and national elections for the Lower or Upper House be held on the same day. While some have pointed out that this will cut costs, including those related to polling stations, it is also anticipated that there will be confusion [among voters] resulting from the differences in national referendums and national elections, including the fact that campaigning activities allowed for national referendums are prohibited for national elections. Are you in favor of or opposed to holding a national referendum and a national election on the same day?

 

In favor

50

Opposed

48

N/A

2

 

Q26: Japan has not used armed force overseas in the 73 years since the end of World War II. Do you think that the reason for this is Article 9?

 

Japan has not used armed force precisely because of Article 9

69

Japan has not used armed force because of other reasons as well

29

N/A

2

 

Q27: Are you satisfied with your and your family’s current economic situation?

 

Satisfied

10

Somewhat satisfied

44

Not very satisfied

30

Not satisfied

16

N/A

0

 

Q28: Do you think Japan is moving in a positive direction?

 

Yes

26

No

72

N/A

2

 

Note: In cases where more than one response is permitted, the figures may add up to more than 100%.

 

Polling methodology: The mail-in survey was implemented by randomly selecting a total of 3,000 men and women aged 18 or over nationwide from 250 locations on a stratified two-stage random-sampling basis to create a cross-section of Japan’s slightly more than 100 million voters. Questionnaires were sent out on March 7 and were completed and sent back by a total of 2,040 persons by April 13. Valid answers were received from 1,922 persons, excluding answer sheets with many questions left blank and answer sheets filled out by those not subject to the survey. The valid response rate was 64.1%. The composition of respondents was as follows: male, 49.0%; female, 51.0%. The survey excluded some areas of Kumamoto Prefecture and some areas of the three prefectures severely impacted by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

 

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