With Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling for the reinterpretation of the Constitution regarding collective self-defense, many of the Japanese public has expressed concerns. However, not all are knowledgeable on the Constitution’s stand and its implications, which prompted Keiko Ota, a 37-year old lawyer, to come up with group meetings to discuss the basics of the Constitution at what she calls, “Constitution Cafés.”
Though Ota’s group is not unique, with many others holding their own meetings, most of Ota’s audiences are homemakers and mothers, who only know a bit about the Constitution. Ota believes that “before we say whether we oppose or agree with constitutional revision, we should think about the issue with knowledge of the Constitution,” she said. Ota, a member of the Asu no Jiyu wo Mamoru Wakate Bengoshi no Kai (“Association of young lawyers defending tomorrow’s freedoms”), is among the 26 lawyers in the association that is pushing for more people to understand the law after concerns on the Liberal Democratic Party’s push for constitutional revision surfaced.
The group aims to provide basic information to the public by holding group discussions and distributing leaflets, including Kenpo ga Kawatchattara Dou Naru no? (“What will happen if the Constitution changes?”) Followed by 2 Fun de Wakaru! Shudeanteki Jieiken Hobo A to Z (“Understand in 2 minutes! The right to collective self-defense from A to Z”). 31-year old lawyer Yufuko Hayata, secretary-general of the association, says the leaflets were passed to start discussion among the people. Hayata believes, “The first step is to try talking a bit with friends and family” which they have achieved with the Constitution Cafes.
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