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Scholars against security laws launch association to 'take back constitutional politics'

Some members of the new association for constitutionalism are seen at a news conference held at the House of Representatives First Members' Office Building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on Jan. 19, 2016. (Mainichi)

A group of intellectuals including constitutional scholars who have raised voice against the government-sponsored security-related legislation launched the "association of people's movement to take back constitutional politics" on Jan. 19, the four-month anniversary of the passage of the controversial legislation.

    Among the approximately 30 facilitators of the association is prominent constitutional scholar Yoichi Higuchi, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, and some 200 more people, including members of the student group "Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy-s" (SEALDs), lawyers, journalists and musicians have joined the association. The members will meet once every month to send information on the importance of constitutionalism.

    Higuchi and other representatives of the association held a news conference on Jan. 19 and released a statement, saying, "The forcible passage of the security-related legislation represented a runaway democracy that denied constitutionalism."

    Keio University professor emeritus Setsu Kobayashi who serves as the association's secretary-general spoke of reasons for launching the association, saying, "As a witness to history, we cannot forget the destruction (of constitutionalism) and recklessness (of the government)." Psychiatrist Rika Kayama told the news conference that constitutionalism is standing "on the verge of collapse," and this is not just seen over Article 9 of the Constitution but in various aspects of society. Kayama added, "Let's form a scrum and protect constitutionalism."

    The association does not plan to support particular candidates in elections or participate in campaigning. Makoto Sataka, a critic and one of the association's facilitators, urged the largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan to play a leading role in the movement, saying, "The party could change its name to the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan."

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