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OPINION POLLS

Opinion poll & results from Yomiuri survey on the Constitution

Main questions & answers (%)

Questionnaire is slightly abridged.

 

Q: What aspects of the current Constitution of Japan are you interested in? The following issues are all related to the Constitution. Which, if any, are you particularly interested in? Select as many as you like from the list below.

 

Emperor and Imperial household

24

Japan’s war renunciation, Self-Defense Forces (SDF)

60

Equality, discrimination

23

Freedom of spoken, written, visual, and all other forms of expression

21

Information disclosure

19

Protection of privacy

25

Right to a minimum standard of living, social welfare

24

Environmental issues

26

Right to assemble, demonstrate, and strike

5

Electoral system

16

Right of access to the courts

11

Official homage at Yasukuni Shrine

12

Constitutional amendment

26

Separation of the three branches of government

6

Local autonomy

10

Diet’s bicameral system

10

Process and background of establishing the Constitution

7

Education

34

Responding to states of emergency

22

Other answers (O/A)

1

Nothing in particular (NIP)

8

No answer (N/A)

1

 

Q: Do you think the current Constitution should be amended?

 

Yes

50

No

46

N/A

4

 

Q: (Only for those who answered “yes” to the foregoing question) Why do you think the current Constitution should be amended? Select as many reasons as you like from among those listed below.

 

Because the Constitution was imposed on Japan by the United States

21

Because Japan’s right to self-defense and the existence of the SDF should be expressly stipulated

40

Because there are too many cases where citizen rights are claimed and obligations neglected

19

Because addressing the change in the times by interpreting and implementing the Constitution leads to confusion

66

Because there are new issues Japan cannot address under the current Constitution, such as contributing to the international community

41

O/A

3

N/A

2

 

Q: (Only for those who answered “no” to the foregoing question) Why do you think the current Constitution should not be amended? Select as many reasons as you like from among those listed below.

 

Because the Constitution has taken root among the people

43

Because it is a peace constitution that Japan can take pride in internationally

54

Because the Constitution guarantees fundamental human rights and democracy

35

Because the Constitution can be interpreted or applied in a flexible way in line with the change in the times

35

Because there is the risk that revising the Constitution may pave the way for Japan to become a military power

46

O/A

2

N/A

2

 

Q: Article 9 of the Constitution stipulates Japan’s renunciation of war and prohibits its maintenance of war potential. To date, the government has interpreted and implemented these provisions in a flexible way to address relevant issues. What do you think the government should do in regard to Article 9 going forward?

 

Address issues by interpreting and implementing Article 9 in a flexible way as in the past

40

Amend Article 9 because dealing with issues by flexibly interpreting and implementing the article has reached its limits

35

Strictly abide by Article 9; do not address issues by interpreting and implementing Article 9 in a flexible way

19

O/A

1

N/A

6

 

Q: The Constitution’s Article 9 has two paragraphs. What are your views on amending them?

 

The first paragraph stipulates that Japan “renounces war.” Do you think this paragraph needs to be amended?

Yes

13

No

83

N/A

3

 

The second paragraph stipulates that Japan “will never again maintain war potential.” Do you think this paragraph needs to be amended?

Yes

44

No

51

N/A

6

 

Q: Is there anything you think should be amended in the Constitution or should be added to the Constitution? Select as many as you like from the items listed below.

 

Emperor’s status, vision of what the Emperor should be

17

Maintenance of armed forces for self-defense

41

Proactive international cooperation

18

Right to access government information

20

Protection of personal information and privacy

25

Respect for family

12

Right to live in a good environment

29

Enhancement of education

32

Strengthening of the prime minister’s powers in state of emergency

11

Lengthening of the terms of Diet members in state of emergency

5

Maintenance of sound public finances

35

Roles of the Lower House and Upper House

16

Prime minister’s power to dissolve the Lower House

7

Framework for national elections

13

Roles of central and local governments

17

Establishment of a constitutional court

4

O/A

1

NIP

13

N/A

3

 

Q: How interested are you in the constitutional amendment debate taking place at the political parties and the Diet today?

 

Very interested

15

Somewhat interested

49

Not very interested

28

Not interested at all

7

N/A

1

 

Q: Do you think that the political parties should engage in a more active debate on the Constitution?

 

Yes

65

No

31

N/A

4

 

Q: Both the Upper and Lower Houses have a Commission on the Constitution that conducts research on the Constitution and screens constitutional amendment drafts. Which one of the following is closest to your views on the Commissions on the Constitution?

 

They should promote debate without impacting the Diet, including its deliberation of budget drafts and other bills

73

It is okay if they do not promote debate because the Diet has matters to attend to such as deliberating budget drafts and other bills

20

N/A

8

 

Q: The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is mulling a proposal that would add a provision stipulating the grounds for the SDF while maintaining paragraph 2 of Article 9, which stipulates that Japan will never again maintain war potential. Are you in favor of or opposed to this proposal?

 

In favor

47

Opposed

46

N/A

7

 

Q: (Only for those who answered “in favor” to the foregoing question) Why are you in favor of the proposal? Select as many reasons as you like from those listed below.

 

Because questions about the constitutionality of Japan’s having the SDF should be resolved

50

Because, even though having the SDF is constitutional, it is problematic to handle the SDF by interpreting and implementing the Constitution

40

Because the renunciation of war will be upheld

38

Because it will make it easier to amend the Constitution in the future

8

Because the Constitution should be amended under the Abe administration

12

O/A

1

N/A

2

 

Q: (Only for those who answered “opposed” to the foregoing question) Why are you opposed to the proposal? Select as many reasons as you like from those listed below.

 

Because it would open the way for Japan to become a military power

48

Because having the SDF is not unconstitutional and so Article 9 does not need to be amended

32

Because the Constitution should be amended to designate the SDF as national defense forces

19

Because the Constitution should not be amended in the future

30

Because the Constitution should not be amended under the Abe administration

37

O/A

2

N/A

1

 

Q: To reduce “the disparity in the relative weight of a vote” in the Upper House, combined constituencies have been used since the Upper House election held in the summer of 2016. Under this system, “Tottori and Shimane Prefectures” and “Tokushima and Kochi Prefectures” were merged, respectively, to each form one constituency. Which of the following is closest to your thinking about this? Select only one.

 

It would be good to create combined constituencies as necessary going forward

46

It would be good to eliminate combined constituencies by amending the Constitution and creating a provision stating that at least one delegate shall be elected from each prefecture

21

It would be good to eliminate combined constituencies not by revising the Constitution but by changing the electoral system through the amendment of legislation

27

N/A

6

 

Q: In Japan, the prime minister may dissolve the House of Representatives and call a general election if the prime minister deems it necessary. Which of the following is closer to your thinking about this?

 

It is good that a general election can be held whenever the prime minister deems it necessary

39

It is not good that a general election can be held at just the prime minister’s discretion 

58

N/A

4

 

Q: Which one of the following is closest to your views on the current emperor system? Select only one response.

 

The current system where the emperor is a symbol is fine

78

It should be expressly stated that the emperor is the head of state and he should be given greater authority

5

The emperor system should be abolished

7

Not interested

8

N/A

2

 

Q: The Constitution stipulates various rights and freedoms. To what degree do you think the following items are actually protected in Japan today? Select one response for each category.

 

Equality under the law

Fully protected

6

Somewhat protected

64

Not very well protected

25

Not protected at all

3

N/A

2

 

Freedom of thought and conscience

Fully protected

10

Somewhat protected

67

Not very well protected

19

Not protected at all

1

N/A

2

 

Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press, and all other forms of expression

Fully protected

10

Somewhat protected

66

Not very well protected

20

Not protected at all

1

N/A

3

 

Freedom to choose and change residence and to choose occupation

Fully protected

23

Somewhat protected

62

Not very well protected

12

Not protected at all

1

N/A

2

 

Freedom of marriage

Fully protected

26

Somewhat protected

61

Not very well protected

10

Not protected at all

1

N/A

2

 

Right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living

Fully protected

11

Somewhat protected

56

Not very well protected

29

Not protected at all

3

N/A

2

 

Right to receive an education

Fully protected

17

Somewhat protected

64

Not very well protected

16

Not protected at all

1

N/A

2

 

Q: Do you ever sense a contradiction between the provisions of the current Constitution and the actual state of politics and society?

 

Often

11

Sometimes

60

Not very often

25

Never

1

N/A

2

 

Q: After the Diet approves constitutional amendment proposals, a national referendum is held and the amendment proposals must gain an affirmative vote of the majority of all ballots cast in order to be adopted. Which of the following is closer to your view on approval by the Diet?

 

The Diet should approve amendment proposals as soon as possible through the concurring vote of Diet members amenable to constitutional amendment

23

The Diet should approve amendment proposals with the backing of as many political parties as possible even if it takes time

73

N/A

4

 

Q: What do you think would be the best timing for the Diet to approve constitutional amendment proposals?

 

In 2019

9

By 2020

23

In or after 2021

33

O/A

3

There is no need for the Diet to approve constitutional amendment proposals

22

N/A

10

 

Q: In deciding what candidate or political party to vote for in the Upper House election this summer, will you factor in the candidates’ or political parties’ views on the Constitution?

 

Yes

57

No

41

N/A

3

 

Q: If a national referendum were held on constitutional amendment, how do you think political advertisements on television and radio calling for either supporting or rejecting an amendment should be handled? Which of the following is closer to your view?

 

The current system is fine. Namely, with an eye to encouraging free and active debate and expression of views, it is fine for there to be no restrictions on advertisements until the final two weeks before the vote

57

Restrictions should be increased so the volume of ads calling for either supporting or rejecting an amendment is not imbalanced

38

N/A

4

 

Polling methodology: The survey was implemented on a mail-in basis of a total of 3,000 persons chosen from among eligible voters throughout the country (at 250 locations on a stratified two-stage random-sampling basis). Questionnaires were sent out on March 12 to those chosen for the survey, and completed surveys were sent back by 2,200 persons by April 18. Valid answers were obtained from 2,103 persons (70%), excluding answers from those not subject to the survey.

 

Breakdown of respondents: Male, 50%; female, 50%. Age 18–29, 12%; 30s, 12%; 40s, 19%; 50s, 17%; 60s, 19%; 70 and over, 21%.

 

Note: Figures are rounded off. The total percentage of numerical values in graphs and tables may not add up to 100%.

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