Survey: 60% in favor of constitutional revision

Yomiuri file photo
People are seen at a busy crossing in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Sixty percent of people are in favor of constitutional amendment, according to a recent Yomiuri Shimbun survey, up from 56% in a poll conducted last spring.

It is the highest figure recorded since 2015, reflecting growing national security concerns amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and North Korean missile launches.

Meanwhile, 38% of respondents were against amending the top law, down from 40% in the previous survey.

Regarding amendment items, the highest number of respondents selected a provision to have armed forces for national self-defense, at 45%, followed by issues regarding emergency measures at 38%, and free education at 36%. Multiple answers were allowed.

On an amendment to Paragraph 2 of Article 9 in the Constitution — which prohibits Japan from having armed forces — 50% of respondents were in favor, up from 46%, while 47% of respondents were against amending the paragraph, unchanged from the previous survey.

Meanwhile, 80% of respondents said there was no need to amend Paragraph 1 of the article on the renunciation of war, unchanged from the previous survey.

Over half of the respondents said the government’s obligations and authority in disasters and pandemics should be stipulated in the Constitution, at 55%, compared to 42% of respondents who said such issues should be covered by standard legislation, not constitutional revision.

Regarding a plan to rezone single-seat constituencies in the House of Representatives to reduce vote-value disparity in national elections, 53% of respondents were in favor of the proposal and 44% were against it.

Support for the plan was higher in municipalities with larger populations. Sixty percent of respondents in major municipalities such as Tokyo’s 23 wards were in favor of the rezoning plan, while in smaller municipalities, 43% of respondents supported the proposal and 53% were against it.

Almost half of the respondents were in favor of merging two prefectures into one constituency for the House of Councillors elections to rectify disparities, at 48%. The same percentage of respondents wanted to scrap such mergers and called for merged constituencies to be reverted back to their original forms, with 27% in favor of legal revisions to achieve this and 21% in favor of constitutional revision.

In the Chugoku and Shikoku regions, which include the merged constituencies of Tottori and Shimane, and Tokushima and Kochi, 41% of respondents were in favor of constituency mergers, while 54% wanted merged constituencies to be reverted, with 30% calling for new legislation and 24% wanting constitutional revision to bring about the change.

In the survey, respondents in small municipalities and merged constituencies tended to be against changes that would decrease the number of lawmakers representing them in the Diet.