The constitution needs changing to enable Japan to be normal country, fund its own defence and to boost the economy.
Peace comes at a cost; namely the price tag at the end of a defence budget. A price tag heavily subsidised, currently, by America. If Japan had its own military, relations with America would improve, especially considering America’s renewed sense of economic nationalism under the Trump administration. Defence support from a fully functional Japanese militarily would improve relations across the board with Japan’s allies, many of which are currently involved in conflicts. This shift would also offer a solution to the unwanted US military presence in Okinawa, allowing all bases in Japanese territories to function without a foreign military presence.
Japan is the only country to have had nuclear bombs dropped on its civilians. It is arguably a very different time now from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but it is also a very different environment in terms of the availability of nuclear weapons. With a close antagonist (North Korea) recently threatening Japan with missiles and claiming to have developed nuclear weapons, it is imperative that Japan at least has the capability to defend itself. That should include being able to threaten a major military counterstrike to precede any attack in order to deter such threats. This is only possible with a fully formed military with the right to use force as a means of settling international disputes.
War is unfortunately a big international industry also, as a nation hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, Japan could benefit from becoming more involved in this multi-trillion dollar industry. The Japanese government lifted the ban on exporting arms in 2014, but Japan’s weapons exports remain low. A highly skilled military, using battle tested Japanese weapons, would prove the reliability of these products and could dramatically improve defence exports.
The Japanese constitution was formed by American senior army officers after the Second World War. The Japanese people have the right to decide upon the rules by which their country is governed. Amending article 9 would allow Japan to normalise as a country, and could have positive financial implications for both Japan and its allies. Japan should pull its weight, fund its own defence and participate with allied countries in the name of Japanese security.