The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Poll: 56% in favor of constituti­onal revision

- The Yomiuri Shimbun

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)

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