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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 September 27 - October 3  > Constitutional scholars criticize Abe for dissolving Diet in violation of Constitution
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2017 September 27 - October 3 [POLITICS]

Constitutional scholars criticize Abe for dissolving Diet in violation of Constitution

September 28, 2017
A group of constitutional scholars on September 27 issued a statement asserting that Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s act of dissolving the Lower House at the beginning of an extraordinary session of the Diet goes counter to constitutional principles.

The statement points out that although the Japanese Communist Party and three other opposition parties in June demanded the convocation of an extraordinary session of the Diet based on Article 53 of the Constitution, the Abe Cabinet has ignored the demand for three months. Article 53 stipulates that the Cabinet must determine on a convocation when urged by a quarter or more of the total members of either House. The statement criticizes Abe for depriving lawmakers’ constitutional right. It also condemned Abe for disregarding the principle of parliamentary democracy which requires respect for minority groups’ opinions.

Referring to the fact that PM Abe two days earlier announced his decision to dissolve the House of Representatives immediately after convening the Diet, the statement stresses that Abe made the decision in a bid to dodge Diet deliberations concerning his scandals involving school corporations of “Kake” and “Moritomo”. It adds that Abe must not break his promise with the general public to explain the allegations before the Diet.

In the statement, the scholars’ group assumed that in the coming general election which will follow the dissolution, Abe’s proposal to revise the pacifist clause of the Constitution will be one of the major issues. Noting that the prime minister seeks to add to the supreme law a clause legitimizing the Self-Defense Forces, the statement regards his move as “a great threat to the principle of pacifism in the Constitution”. It states that the general election can provide concerned citizens a great opportunity to restore constitutionalism in politics.

On the same day, initiators of the statement held a press conference in the Diet building. Former International Christian University professor Ina Masaki said that Abe will dissolve the Lower House without giving opposition party representatives a chance to question the prime minister in the Diet and that so far, 89 constitutional researchers expressed their support for the statement. Ina called Abe’s stance “180-degrees opposite to being democratic”.

Past related articles:
> Abe should convene extraordinary Diet session to investigate ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal [June 24, 2017]
> JCP will demand convening of extraordinary Diet session [June 22, 2017]
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