Monday, July 29, 2013

Japan's Vice Prime Minister (and Finance Minister) Taro Aso Says "Learn from Nazis" When It Comes to Changing the Constitution

I suspect Mr. Aso is going to claim his remark was taken totally out of context.

From Nikkei Shinbun, quoting Kyodo News (7/30/2013):


Taro Aso, Vice Prime Minister and Finance Minister, gave a lecture in Tokyo in the evening of July 29. Regarding the revision of the Japanese Constitution, Mr. Aso referred to the Nazis Germany before the World War II and said, "The constitution of Germany's Weimar Republic [the Weimar Constitution] was changed unnoticed. It was changed before anyone was aware. We could learn from that technique." He also said, "[Change of the Japanese Constitution] shouldn't be decided in turmoil", and his remark [about Nazi Germany and Weimar Republic Constitution] was in the context that the changing the Constitution should be discussed in a calm environment.

According to wiki, the Weimar Constitution "technically remained in effect throughout the existence of the Third Reich from 1933 to 1945":

Hitler's subversion of the Weimar Constitution

Less than a month after Adolf Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in 1933, the Reichstag Fire Decree invoked Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, suspending several constitutional protections on civil rights. The articles affected were 114 (habeas corpus), 115 (inviolability of residence), 117 (correspondence privacy), 118 (freedom of expression /censorship), 123 (assembly), 124 (associations), and 153 (expropriation).
The subsequent Enabling Act, passed by the Reichstag on March 23, 1933, stated that, in addition to the traditional method of the Reichstag passing legislation, the Reich government could also pass legislation. It further stated that the powers of the Reichstag, Reichsrat and Reich President were not affected. The normal legislative procedures outlined in Articles 68 to 77 of the constitution did not apply to legislation promulgated by the Reich government.

The Enabling Act was effectively a constitutional amendment because of the foregoing alterations to the normal legislative process. The act met the constitutional requirements (two-thirds of the Reichstag's members were present, and two-thirds of the members present voted in favor of the measure). The Act did not explicitly amend the Weimar Constitution, but there was explicit mention to the fact that the procedure sufficient for constitutional reform was followed. The constitution of 1919 was never formally repealed, but the Enabling Act meant that all its other provisions were a dead letter.

Two, and possibly three, of the penultimate acts Hitler took to consolidate his power in 1934 actually violated the Enabling Act. Article 2 of the act stated that

'Laws enacted by the government of the Reich may deviate from the constitution as long as they do not affect the institutions of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The rights of the President remain undisturbed.'

However, on 14 February, the Reichsrat was abolished even though Article 2 explicitly protected the existence of that body. It can be argued that the Enabling Act had been breached two weeks earlier on 30 January, when the Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich transferred the states' powers to the Reich and rendered the Reichstat obsolete. Hindenburg died on 2 August, and Hitler appropriated the president's powers for himself in accordance with a law passed the previous day. However, in 1932 the constitution had been amended to make the president of the High Court of Justice, not the chancellor, acting president pending new elections. Nonetheless, the Enabling Act did not specify any recourse that could be taken if the chancellor violated Article 2, and no judicial challenge was ever mounted.

Instead of referring to Weimar Republic, Aso could have referred to Japan's ally the United States. The surveillance state under NSA is not exactly what the country fought the war of independence against England for, but here it is, before anyone is fully aware, the Constitution has been subverted, or for pro-NSA surveillance people, "updated" to meet the needs of modern times.

I may also add that Mr. Aso wants to become Prime Minister again, just like Mr. Abe has done. He thinks Abe's health problems will get him again sooner or later.


Anonymous said...

Is this the same guy who gave everyone in Japan ¥12.000 when he was elected prime minister? Off with his head.

Anonymous said...

The 12,000 was meant to shut us up :)

Anonymous said...

It would explain a lot if Japanese people are ignoring everything that guy says and does, because he's so full of shit.

Politics 101: be as ridiculous as you can, then whilst everyone's ignoring you, steal all their rights and fux them up the butt.

Anonymous said...

*Appending the above

I mean, normal intelligent people probably assume that idiots spouting nonsense can't possibly achieve any of the rubbish they spout.

Unfortunately, the world is a lot stupider than people realize, and it's totally possible for stupid people to do every stupid thing they claim.

Anonymous said...

Aso just said that "we shouldn't discuss about revision of constitution under the noisy situation" "We need to calm down, and find out what kind of situation surround us. Revision of constitution can be achieved when public opinion became matured. Otherwise, it will make serious mistake"

That is an exactly what he said. He never agree or promote the way Nazi did in 1930's.

Jake Kim said...

we can see how important u vote for da right one. how can such an idiot be vice prime minister??

Anonymous said...

Taro Aso, his real name must be Taro AHO (idiot).

Time and time again, he single-handedly epitomizes the idiocy in the current Japanese leadership. Prime Minister Abe relies on this idiot to be his right hand man. What does it say about Abe?

Anonymous said...

The Germans actually learnt the hard lessons after denouncing fascism and nuclear. The Japanese apparently have learnt nothing whatsoever. It will be for their future generations to reconcile the nuclear wasteland called Japan.

Anonymous said...

Germany apologized what they did in WWII. However, Neo-Nazi and so many ultra right wing groups are terrorizing non-white people everyday. Why? They just put all responsibility on Nazi. They don't learn anything from history.

Anonymous said...

Constitutional amendments prepare authoritarian rule in Japan
By John Watanabe
31 July 2013

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, won a sweeping victory in the upper house elections on July 21, winning 65 seats out of the contested 121. The second-placed Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) only got 17.

The LDP now hopes its upper house majority will boost its chances of implementing its right-wing agenda, notably revising the Japanese constitution. The changes—including undermining basic democratic rights and legalizing Japan’s involvement in aggressive wars abroad—will set into motion an explosive confrontation with the working class.

The draft constitution prepared by the LDP in April reeks of Japanese nationalism. The most significant changes include eliminating key democratic rights, granting new “emergency powers” to the prime minister, restoring the emperor as head of state, and voiding the constitution’s pacifist Article 9.

The current constitution was created by US occupation authorities after Japan’s defeat in World War II. Facing the threat of social revolution amid deep popular opposition to Japan’s bloody militarist regime, US authorities made significant political concessions. Basic democratic rights were formally inscribed in the constitution; Article 9 aimed to placate broad anti-war sentiment, as well as to ensure that Japan would not return to war against the US.

The LDP explains that today’s “constitutional amendments… will unshackle the country from the system established during the Occupation and make Japan a truly sovereign state.”

Abe’s nationalist rhetoric insists that Japan must restore its status as a “normal country.” Under the current constitution, Japan is, strictly speaking, banned from having a military, even though Japan’s “Self-Defence Force” is among the largest and most advanced in the world. As a result, it currently lacks crucial offensive capacities.

The new Article 9’s title has been changed from “Renunciation of War” to “National Security.” Although it retains the phrase “renounces war as an instrument of national policy”, the new Article 9 will rename the Self-Defence Force to a National Defence Force with the prime minister as commander in chief, in order to “secure the peace, independence, and security of the country and the people.” Practically, the LDP wants the legal basis to act as a partner in US military operations and to create a force with offensive capabilities, including so-called “pre-emptive” strikes against enemy states.

The move towards militarism is going hand-in-hand with far reaching attacks on democratic rights. The preamble of the present constitution emphasizes the universality of the principle of popular sovereignty and of “laws of political morality.” It declares: “We, the Japanese people... [have] resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government.”

The LDP plans to remove these passages, arguing that they are concepts “based on the Western theory of natural rights.” It counterposes Japanese uniqueness in a preamble that would begin, “Japan is a nation with a long history and unique culture, with the emperor as a symbol of the unity of the people.”

Without explaining why, the LDP is proposing to delete Article 97, which declares: “The fundamental human rights guaranteed by this Constitution to the people of Japan [are] to be held for all time inviolate.” Instead, the LDP would impose “duties” such as: “The people must respect the national flag and national anthem,” and “All the people must respect this Constitution.”

Full article:

Anonymous said...

Also, in the proposed constitution freedom of expression would be conditioned by national interests. For example, assume that the LDP declares nuclear power development a national interest, this blog might have problems.

By the way, stating the "uniqueness" of Japanese culture should be understood as stating its superiority and hence the right of the Japanese to dominate other nations. (If you ask me, a better way to prove the presumed superiority of Japanese culture would be to stop losing key industries to competitors...)


Anonymous said...

Adolf was a Genius.

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