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Ruling parties only listening to prime minister: How constitutional revision procedure bill passed


   Refusing to listen to the public, the ruling parties have been loyal to Prime Minster Abe Shinzofs instructions on the bill to establish procedures for revising the Constitution.


   While rejecting a central public hearing to hear public opinion on the bill, the Liberal Democratic and Komei parties took an extraordinary measure to request the pro-constitutional revision prime minister to speak at the committee meeting on May 11 despite the fact that the bill was submitted by Dietmembers.


   This event clearly illustrated the billfs real purpose of laying the groundwork for amending Article 9 as well as the ruling coalitionfs intention to enact it according to the prime ministerfs schedule for constitutional revision.


   The Democratic Party backslided from its own assertion that failure to hold a central public hearing would leave a stain on constitutional politics and gave consent to the vote on condition that the prime minister attend the committee meeting and that a supplementary resolution be adopted.


   The ruling parties drew up an unreasonable schedule for holding local public hearings in order to hastily get the bill passed.


   A speaker at a local public hearing complained that he had received material on the morning of the hearing day. Other speakers also expressed discontent about the lack of time for preparations. The ruling parties and the DPJ, however, ignored the criticisms and rushed into the forcible passage of the bill.


   The ruling parties and the DPJ adopted a supplementary resolution requiring further discussions on whether or not a minimum voter turnout rate is needed and what kind of activities public service employees and teachers are prohibited from doing.


   However, these are elements to be stipulated in the bill. This resolution itself clearly shows that the bill has fundamental defects and that it was premature to take a vote on it.


   The ruling parties forced the bill through because they simply wanted to meet Prime Minister Abefs schedule for a constitutional revision during his term of office.


   Abe, who adheres to the Yasukuni view that justifies Japanfs past war of aggression, is pursuing constitutional revision to enable Japan to fight wars abroad.


   However, such a way will not receive public support. In fact the movement of Article 9 Associations is gaining momentum. There are more than 6,000 Article 9 Associations across the country. Recent opinion polls show that the number of people supporting Article 9 is increasing while the number of advocates of constitutional revision is decreasing.


   The time will come when the majority of the public will stand up to defend Article 9 and the Constitution, overcoming the attempts by Prime Minister Abe and other pro-constitutional revision forces.          - Akahata, May 12, 2007



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