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52% opposed to amending Japan Constitution's pacifist Article 9: Mainichi poll

Some 52 percent of Japanese citizens are opposed to changing the Constitution's war-renouncing Article 9, against 27 percent answering in favor, a recent Mainichi Shimbun poll suggested.

    Meanwhile, an about equal number of respondents said they supported or were opposed to amending the Constitution in general, at 42 percent each.

    With the enactment of new security laws that allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, resistance to changing Article 9 remains strongly rooted. In a Mainichi Shimbun poll taken in April last year, 55 percent of respondents said they didn't think that Article 9 should be amended, while 27 percent said they thought it should be.

    Among supporters of the current Cabinet, 59 percent were in favor of amending the Constitution, while 27 percent were opposed. Forty-two percent were in support of amending Article 9 while 38 percent were opposed. Among those not supporting the Cabinet, 26 percent supported amending the Constitution in general and 61 percent opposed. Twelve percent of this group supported amending Article 9, while 71 percent opposed doing so.

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes to build a two-thirds majority of lawmakers in favor of amendments in both houses of the Diet -- the ration required by Article 96 to submit a motion to alter the Constitution. Forty-seven percent of respondents to the Mainichi poll said they did not hope constitutional reformers would get a two-thirds majority in the House of Councillors in the upcoming election, while 34 percent said they did.

    The poll was conducted on April 16 and April 17. May 3 is Constitution Day, the 69th anniversary of the enactment of Japan's Constitution.

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