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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 May 9 - 15  > LDP and Komei force through constitutional revision procedural bill through Upper House committee
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2007 May 9 - 15 [CIVIL RIGHTS]

LDP and Komei force through constitutional revision procedural bill through Upper House committee

May 12, 2007
In defiance of public criticism, the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties on May 11 used their majority to get the bill to establish procedures for constitutional revision (national referendum bill) passed through the House of Councilors Research Commission on the Constitution. Earlier, the Democratic Party agreed on the ruling coalition’s proposal to put the bill to the vote.

Despite the fact that this bill has an important bearing on the exercise of popular sovereignty, they forced a vote on it without holding a central public hearing, an important opportunity to listen to the public.

The Japanese Communist Party strongly protested against the abrupt discontinuance of the discussion and voted against the bill. The Democratic, Social Democratic, and People’s New Party also opposed the bill.

Immediately after the voting, organization representatives and citizens who had engaged in a sit-down protest in front of the Diet demanding scrapping of the bill held a protest rally.

Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo at a press conference later in the day severely criticized the ruling parties for “their flagrant disrespect of the public” in terms of both the content of the bill and their handling of the bill up to the voting (See separate item).

In the committee meeting, JCP representative Nihi Sohei expressed his indignation over the tactics used, stating, “The forcible passage of the bill without holding a central public hearing will be a blot on the history of the constitutional politics.”

Nihi stressed that the bill is unfair and undemocratic in that it will enable the Constitution to be revised with the approval rate of only 10 percent of the eligible voters due to the failure of stipulating the minimum voter turnout rate, and that it will deprive some five million public service employees and teachers of their right to express their opinions.

Pointing out that this bill is built into Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s schedule for changing Article 9, Nihi stated, “The Japanese people will never allow Japan to be turned into a nation fighting wars abroad by adversely revising the Constitution.” - Akahata, May 12, 2007
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