The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun
Poll: 56% in favor of constitutional revision
Public opinion on Japan’s Constitution has tipped toward revision, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun poll, with 56% of respondents in favor and 40% against.
Support for revision was the highest since the mail-in survey was first conducted in 2015, and up seven percentage points from last year.
Although the public had been evenly divided on the possibility of constitutional revision in recent years, the latest survey found that resistance to change had dropped eight percentage points from last year, widening the gap between yeas and nays to 16 percentage points.
More than half of all respondents, or 59%, supported amending the Constitution to include a clause clearly stipulating the scope of the government’s responsibilities and authority in dealing with emergencies, such as natural disasters and infectious diseases. By contrast, 37% of respondents said the government’s emergency powers should be clarified through separate legislation, rather than constitutional revision.
The latest survey results suggest that the pandemic has kindled a growing awareness of the need to revise the Constitution to grant the government greater authority to respond to emergency scenarios.
Regarding Chinese government ships’ repeated intrusions into Japan’s territorial waters off the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, a total of 95% of the respondents said they felt “greatly” (66%) or “somewhat” (29%) that such incidents were a threat to the nation’s security.
Wariness over China’s increasingly hegemonic moves has likely helped buoy momentum for constitutional revision.
Approval of the security-related laws, which have now been in effect for five years, also rose to 53% from the previous survey’s 46%, while 41% of respondents said they do not approve, down from 50% previously.
When deciding which candidate or party to vote for in this year’s House of Representatives election, 59% said their views on the Constitution would be a factor.
For the latest poll, a questionnaire was sent to 3,000 randomly selected eligible voters across the country on March 9. Valid answers were given by a total of 2,155 out of 2,242 respondents by April 15, for a response rate of 72%. (May 4)