Photo/IllutrationSelf-Defense Forces members hold a march in Fukui on Oct. 9. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Nearly half of voters oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s constitutional revision plan to define the legal status of the Self-Defense Forces in war-renouncing Article 9, according to an Asahi Shimbun survey.

Forty-five percent of the respondents expressed opposition while 36 percent supported it in the nationwide survey conducted on Oct. 23 and 24 following the Lower House election on Oct. 22.

Respondents were asked, “In the Lower House election, the Liberal Democratic Party in one of its campaign pledges said that it will define the SDF in Article 9 of the Constitution by revising it. Do you support the idea of making such a constitutional revision under the Abe administration?”

Though 45 percent of all the respondents said that they oppose the revision, the figure was only 34 percent among those between 18 and 29 years old. That compared to the 49 percent in that age group who support the revision.

In all other age brackets, the ratio of opponents exceeded that of supporters. In particular, among respondents in their 60s, as high as 54 percent were opposed to the revision and only 27 percent supported it.

By gender, 45 percent of male respondents supported the revision. Among female respondents, the support rate was only 28 percent.

By political parties they support, 63 percent of supporters of the conservative LDP said that they support the revision, while 22 percent replied that they oppose the plan.

Among respondents who support the new left-leaning Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), the ratio of opponents was as high as 88 percent, and that of supporters only 8 percent.

Among respondents who do not support any political party, the ratio of opponents stood at 44 percent while that of supporters was 21 percent.

Of all the respondents who support the revision, 51 percent said that they voted for the LDP in the proportional representation portion of the Oct. 22 Lower House election.

On the other hand, 34 percent of the respondents who oppose the revision replied that they voted for the CDP, and 12 percent said that they voted for the LDP.

For the survey, The Asahi Shimbun contacted eligible voters whose phone numbers were chosen at random by computer. Of the more than 2,100 contacted through fixed landlines or mobile phones, more than 1,100 gave valid responses.

These were received from 559, or 50 percent, of the 1,111 voters with fixed landlines, excluding those in parts of the nuclear disaster-hit Fukushima Prefecture, and 574, or 56 percent, of 1,019 voters contacted on mobile phones.