The public is divided over whether the Constitution should be revised, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun poll, with 49% of respondents in favor and 48% against.
The results are little changed from the previous poll taken from March to April 2019, when 50% were in favor and 46% against.
Among respondents in the latest poll, 61% said they were interested in discussions on constitutional change delivered at the Diet or by political parties. The figure was down from 64% in 2019, but exceeding 60% for three consecutive years of the poll.
The latest poll was conducted from March 10 to April 20 by mail. A questionnaire was mailed to 3,000 randomly selected eligible voters nationwide, with 2,130, or 71%, responding with valid answers.
Asked about issues voters are particularly interested in regarding the Constitution, with multiple answers allowed, the top issue was that regarding the renouncing of war and the Self-Defense Forces at 51%. Next was the environment at 38%.
Tied for second was the issue regarding the nation’s response to an emergency, up from 22% in the previous poll. This increase was apparently caused by the government declaring a state of emergency to combat the spread of infections with the new coronavirus while the poll was being conducted.
Asked what the government’s responsibility and authority should be during an emergency, which are not stipulated in the Constitution, 49% said new legislation should be established to clarify them without revising the Constitution, up from 44% in the poll from March to April 2018. Those saying the Constitution should be revised to include such clarifications was 31%, up from 29% in 2018, while 16% said the issue should be left “as it is,” down from 24% in 2018.
Asked about the Liberal Democratic Party’s proposals to revise the Constitution, which include adding legal grounds for the existence of the SDF in Article 9, 52% of respondents in the latest poll were in favor, up from 47% in 2019, while 43% were against, down from 46% in 2019.