In 2018 Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party announced four new proposals to amend the seven-decades-old and thus-far unamended constitution of Japan. These include adding a third paragraph to Article 9, as well as state-of-emergency provisions, support for students in need, and changes to the electoral system. By analyzing each proposal’s place in the debate on amendments dating back to the 1950s, I show that these very different proposals share one important feature that sets them apart from recent drafts aiming for wholesale reform of the constitution: they are relatively minimalist in nature. This new modesty is due to the necessity to win over other parties and voters, but it is also an attempt to cement rather than to change the LDP-made status quo.

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