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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 February 13 - 19  > Pro-constitutional revision forces take offensive
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2013 February 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Pro-constitutional revision forces take offensive

February 18, 2013
A “coalition” of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and the right-wing opposition Japan Restoration Party is intensifying its move to revise the Japanese Constitution.

PM Abe on February 15 attended a meeting at the LDP headquarters to promote Constitutional revision for the first time since the party returned to power in December last year. Abe said to many Dietmembers, including newly elected ones, “Until recently, it seemed almost impossible to revise the Constitution. Since the LDP proposed its full-scale draft bill to amend the Constitution last year, the revision has taken on a sense of real possibility.”

He called on lawmakers to begin with changing Article 96 of the Constitution which provides the amendment procedures. The article requires approval of at least two-thirds of all members of each House to propose Constitutional amendment. The prime minister is aiming to have the requirement relaxed.

In a Lower House budget committee meeting, JRP parliamentarian Nakada Hiroshi said to Abe, “Even if the Komei Party, the LDP’s coalition partner, does not support the revision of the Constitution, the total of the LDP and the JRP Dietmembers exceeds two-thirds of all seats in the Lower House. We will work to change the Constitution together with the LDP.”

Meanwhile, Abe on February 8 reconvened the prime minister’s advisory panel on the legal foundation for national security for the first time in about five years, with the aim of authorizing the right to collective defense. A week later, he held the first meeting of an expert committee working to install a Japanese version of the “National Security Council” following the U.S. model. The prime minister is hurrying to put together a system in which Japan can wage war together with the U.S. even before formally revising the Constitution.

The Lower House Commission on the Constitution elected its secretaries on February 14 and all posts were occupied by constitutional revision-oriented parties, the LDP, JRP, Komei, and the Democratic Party. The Upper House commission on February 15 held a conference to discuss how to proceed.
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