Photo/IllutrationMembers of a group of academics, Save Constitutional Democracy Japan, give a news conference in Tokyo on June 26 on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to revise war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution and Diet proceedings. (Shuichi Yutaka)

Law experts have denounced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to spell out the legal status of the Self-Defense Forces in the Constitution.

The prime minister revealed in May that he wanted to add a clause on the SDF in the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution. However, in a draft amendment announced in 2012, his Liberal Democratic Party called for the deletion of Paragraph 2, which prohibits the maintenance of an armed forces that may wage war.

“It cannot be a serious argument because there is no way of knowing how to make his proposal consistent with the party draft,” said Jiro Yamaguchi, professor of politics at Hosei University, about Abe’s proposal at a news conference on June 26.

Yamaguchi was one of a group of law professors and legal experts, the Save Constitutional Democracy Japan, which held the news conference in Tokyo to voice their concerns.

The scholars also said the Diet had effectively "collapsed" as the Abe administration wielded so much control in both chambers that it could basically do, and is doing, whatever it wanted.

"We held the news conference to sound the alarm to the public that something outrageous is occurring in society," said Osamu Nishitani, a specially appointed professor of philosophy at Rikkyo University.

In a lecture in Kobe on June 24, Abe said he plans to submit the revision proposal in an extraordinary Diet session in the autumn.

Kenji Ishikawa, professor of the Constitution at the University of Tokyo, blasted Abe’s proposal to declare the SDF’s status in the Constitution, warning that it would lead to the loss of control over the nation’s defense capabilities, which have been restricted by Article 9.

“I find it most problematic that the prime minister is bursting his way without weighing the implications of his proposal,” he said.

The group also issued a statement criticizing the administration’s “high-handed handling of Diet proceedings” and “shirking responsibility for being accountable.”

The group cited a vote on anti-conspiracy bills in a plenary session of the Upper House after taking the surprising step of skipping a vote in an Upper House committee.

They also mentioned the refusal to open a special Diet committee to probe the Moritomo Gakuen and Kake Educational Institution scandals in which a lack of transparency in the government process is criticized and the failure to summon figures to the Diet to testify.

“The deterioration of the parliamentary government system has been exacerbated to the extent that now the 'Diet has collapsed’ as the government and the ruling parties abandoned their efforts to explain and persuade on the back of an overwhelming amount of seats controlled by the party,” the statement read.

It pressed the Cabinet to promptly fulfill its responsibility to be accountable by opening an extraordinary Diet session as the opposition parties had demanded based on Article 53 of the Constitution.