May 4, 2023
TOKYO – Sixty-one percent of people are in favor of amending the Constitution, according to a recent opinion poll conducted by The Yomiuri Shimbun.
It is the second consecutive year the figure has been at the 60% level.
Global circumstances including the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are believed to have influenced the result.
In the previous survey conducted from March to April last year, 60% of respondents were in favor of constitutional revision.
This year’s figure was the second highest after the 65% logged in a 2004 Yomiuri survey. However, the latest survey was conducted by mail, while interviews were used in the 2004 poll, making a simple comparison difficult.
In the latest poll, 33% of respondents were against amending the Constitution, down five percentage points from last year. The gap between those in favor and against amendment has widened to 28 percentage points.
Forty percent of respondents said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had increased their awareness regarding the need for constitutional revision, while 21% said it increased their awareness regarding the need to maintain the current Constitution. Thirty-two percent said their awareness has not changed since the invasion.
In another question, 51% were in favor of amending Paragraph 2 of Article 9 in the Constitution, which prohibits Japan from having armed forces, up one percentage point from last year, while 44% were against amending the paragraph, down three percentage points.
Regarding Paragraph 1 of Article 9, which stipulates the renunciation of war, 75% said there was no need to revise it, down five percentage points from the previous survey.
Regarding a Liberal Democratic Party proposal to clearly stipulate the grounds for the Self-Defense Forces, 54% of respondents were in favor, down four percentage points from the previous survey, and 38% were against, up one percentage point.
Regarding an amendment to clearly stipulate the government’s obligations and authority in major disasters and pandemics, 55% were in favor of the proposal, unchanged from last year. Forty-one percent said such issues should be addressed through standard legislation without a constitutional amendment, down one percentage point from the previous survey.
As for establishing special provisions to the Constitution to allow Diet members to extend their terms of office in emergencies, 73% were in favor, far more than the 23% who were against the idea. In the previous survey, 76% were in favor, while 22% were against.
As for the planned rezoning of single-seat constituencies to correct the disparity in vote values through a redistribution of seats, 52% said there was no need for the measure, which takes effect from the next House of Representatives election, because the number of lawmakers in rural areas decreases in accordance with population ratios.
Meanwhile, 42% were in favor of correcting the disparity by increasing the number of lawmakers in big cities.
The survey was conducted by mail from March 7 to April 11 on 3,000 eligible voters nationwide, with responses obtained from 2,055 people.