Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the Occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Enactment of the Constitution of Japan
May 3, 2007
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution of Japan.
Together with the people of Japan, I would like to take this opportunity to look back on the 60 years that have passed under the Constitution, think deeply once again of the significance of the Constitution and renew our resolve toward the future.
After World War II, Japan overcame numerous hardships and built the peace and prosperity of today through every person's extraordinary wisdom and ceaseless efforts. During that period, the fundamental principles of the present Constitution-popular sovereignty and democracy, liberalism and respect for basic human rights, and pacifism and the principle of international coordination-were broadly accepted by the people of Japan and have played a vital role in building Japan as it is today. Furthermore, the spirit of the Constitution, which desires peace for all time and for Japan to occupy an honored place in an international society, forms the cornerstone of Japan's diplomacy and ties in with Japan's active contributions to the peace and prosperity of the world, such as the implementation of United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping operations (PKO).
Meanwhile, Japanese society today is faced with major changes which were unimaginable at the time of the formulation of the Constitution, including the remarkable development and globalization of the economy, rapid advancements in science and technology and diversification of the national consciousness. At the same time, the international framework surrounding Japan has been changing profoundly. Our basic frameworks, starting from the Constitution, down to the administrative system, state-local relationship, and foreign policy and national security, have become incapable of adapting to the great changes taking place, and these frameworks demand review. New challenges such as global environmental issues must be addressed urgently. In addition, I believe it is important for the young people who will shoulder the next generation to carry with them a spirit of public-mindedness and self-discipline, as well as affection and a sense of responsibility for their community and the nation.
In this context, while we continue to uphold the fundamental principles of the present Constitution as abiding values, a bold review of the postwar regime all the way back to its origins and an in-depth discussion of the Constitution toward realizing a new Japan will lead to a spirit of laying the path to a new era.
A constitution embodies the ideals and vision of a nation. I strongly hope that an even broader national debate on the modality of the Constitution will take place so that we may identify a clear direction for the future.
On this milestone of the 60th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution I have renewed my resolve to make further progress toward realizing a new Japan, a country admired and respected by people in the world, a country our children's generation can have self-confidence and pride in, with the fundamental principles of the Constitution deeply engraved in my mind.