Citizens attend a protest against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's attempts to amend the nation's pacifist Constitution in Tokyo, Japan, on May 3, 2017. (Xinhua/Ma Ping)
TOKYO, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of people gathered Friday to protest against Japanese Prime Minister ShinzoAbe's attempts to amend the pacifist Constitution on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution.
Some 40,000 people gathered outside the parliament building in Tokyo for the rally, according to the organizer. The protesters held banners and shouted slogans such as "No War" and "Protect Article 9 of the Constitution."
Yukio Edano, leader of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), said at the rally that pro-constitution forces would make joint efforts to prevent the Abe administration from having its way to revise the pacifist Constitution.
Kazuo Shii, head of the Japanese Communist Party, said that Abe's proposal of making reference to Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in the Constitution would undermine the spirit of Article 9 and impose on Japan the risks of being involved in wars.
Mizuho Fukushima, deputy head of the Social Democratic Party, said that the Abe administration, having forcibly enacted the security laws, might resort to similar means to revise the pacifist Constitution. She called for people to step up their efforts to prevent Abe's such efforts.
Japan's current Constitution, promulgated on Nov. 3, 1946 and coming into force on May 3, 1947, has been best known for its Article 9, by which Japan renounces its right to wage war and promises that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained."
Revising the constitution has been a long-term political goal for Abe as well as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's fundamental party platform.
Abe's ruling camp won a two-thirds "supermajority" in the lower house election on Oct. 22 amid the split-up of the opposition forces, which is expected to give the ruling bloc a new impetus to push for revising the Constitution.
A recent survey by Kyodo News, however, showed that 52.6 percent of the Japanese people are opposed to Abe's proposal for the supreme charter to explicitly make reference to the SDF, while 38.3 percent are supportive.