Japon: l’albatros constitutionnel

TOKYO – À l’approche du soixante-dixième anniversaire de la défaite du Japon à l’issue de la deuxième guerre mondiale, les discussions s’animent – et les lamentations pleuvent – au sujet de la résurgence des querelles historiques en Asie de l’est. Mais les récentes tensions dans la région reflètent en partie un manque de progrès dans un tout autre domaine, souvent délaissé : la réforme institutionnelle du Japon. Car malgré l’impuissance si ouvertement soulignée par la décapitation de deux otages japonais par l’État islamique, le Japon n’a adopté aucun des amendements à la constitution de paix imposés par les forces américaines d’occupation en 1947.  

À première vue, cela n’a rien de véritablement surprenant. Car la constitution a servi un objectif important : le Japon ne constituant plus dorénavant une menace militaire, il a échappé à l’occupation étrangère, ce qui lui a permis de poursuivre sa reconstruction et sa démocratisation. Et pourtant : l’Allemagne avait adopté une constitution approuvée par les Alliés dans des circonstances comparables en 1949, une constitution qui a depuis subi des douzaines d’amendements.

De plus, alors que la constitution de l’Allemagne, ou Loi Fondamentale, autorise l’usage de la force dans les cas de légitime défense ou dans le cadre d’un accord de sécurité collectif, la constitution japonaise stipulait un abandon total et définitif de « l’usage de la menace ou de la force comme moyen de résolution des disputes internationales. » Le Japon est le seul pays au monde contraint par de telles restrictions – imposées non seulement pour étouffer un éventuel renouveau militariste, mais aussi afin de punir le Japon pour sa politique durant la guerre – et il est irréaliste de continuer à les respecter.

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