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From the beginning of the year 2000, Constitutional Research Councils have been set up in both Houses of the National Diet and the structural and symbolic questions of national identity and purpose are merging in debate on constitutional reform. The Constitution defines the nature of the Japanese polity and constrains Japan's military role in the world. The opening of this debate will play a crucial role in shaping the nature of the realignment of domestic political forces and adumbrating the alternative international roles Japan may pursue in the new era. This book makes available in English the four key proposals on constitutional reform already in the public domain in Japan. These proposals form the backdrop against which the constitutional debate will evolve. Hook and McCormack place these documents in their historical and contemporary context, providing an analysis of their meaning in the development of postwar thinking on the constitution. They introduce the constitution and explain the government's established interpretation of the key clauses subject to controversy, going on to provide a thorough analysis of the differing interpretations of these clauses.;Subjects covered include; * the no war, pacifist' clause * tension between the constitution and the US-Japan security treaty * the political import of the constitution for Japanese political parties * the significance of the constitution for the Japanese people Japan's Contested Constitution is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Japanese domestic politics and the international role of Japan.