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2013年8月 4日 (日)

麻生財務相発言 ナチスにどう改憲を学ぶのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun August 4, 2013
How can we learn from Nazis about constitutional revision?
麻生財務相発言 ナチスにどう改憲を学ぶのか(8月3日付・読売社説)

Was this something a person who has held the prime minister’s post should say? We cannot help but doubt his qualification to be an important minister in the current administration.

Referring to the approach to constitutional revision taken by the former Nazi regime in Germany, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso made remarks to the effect that we should learn from its technique to amend the country’s Constitution.

Many people took this statement as expressing a positive view of Nazi Germany. Widespread revulsion was rapidly expressed, not only in Japan but also by parties including a Jewish human rights organization in the United States. China and South Korea have also criticized the statement, linking it to their existing disagreements with the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over recognition of history.

Aso retracted his statement, saying: “It was taken differently from my real intent. It is regrettable that I invited a misunderstanding.” However, the situation is so serious that it may even damage Japan’s national interests.

The statement came out on Monday during a speech Aso made in Tokyo, in the context of his attempt to describe how cool-headed discussions are necessary for constitutional revision.

He referred to the circumstance in which Adolf Hitler emerged under the Weimar Constitution and said: “The Weimar Constitution was changed to the Nazi Constitution before people realized it. Why don’t we learn from that technique?”

However, while the Weimar Constitution was rendered a dead letter, nothing called the “Nazi Constitution” ever existed.

Hitler seized the reins of government by legitimate means and built the foundation of his dictatorial regime through such things as the Enabling Act, by which the government was empowered to enact laws without parliamentary deliberation or approval. He sent Jewish people to concentration camps and caused the Holocaust.

Inappropriate expression

At his press conference Friday, Aso explained: “The Nazis emerged in the midst of an uproar before people realized it. I meant to say we have to learn from that as a bad example.” If it was his real intent, the expression “Learn from the technique” is totally inappropriate.

It is also not understandable at all why he picked the Nazi Germany case in relation to revision of the Constititution. In Japan a national referendum is needed to amend the Constitution, and that is only after an amendment has been initiated by both houses of the Diet. Therefore, it cannot be amended “before people realize it.”

Democratic Party of Japan President Banri Kaieda criticized Aso, saying: “Revision of the Constitution is an issue that should be debated in the most vigorous way. His remarks ignore democracy, as he said it’s OK to do it secretly.”

There is no doubt that Aso’s speech was a serious blow to the Abe administration, which aims at constitutional revision.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said: “Cabinet ministers must fully recognize their positions and should make statements carefully, so as not to be misunderstood.”

That is something which is too obvious. However, Aso repeatedly made gaffes and irresponsible remarks when he was foreign minister or prime minister such as, “Even people with Alzheimer’s can understand it,” or, “There are many doctors who lack common sense.”

Due to the Liberal Democratic Party’s landslide victory in the recent House of Councillors election, we suspect the the administration has let its hair down. Aso’s remarks also reveal the arrogance of a party winning big.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 3, 2013)
(2013年8月3日01時49分  読売新聞)


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