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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 April 11 - 17  > 22 local bar associations express opposition to hasty enactment of constitutional revision procedures bill
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2007 April 11 - 17 [POLITICS]

22 local bar associations express opposition to hasty enactment of constitutional revision procedures bill

April 11, 2007
Twenty two local bar associations have issued statements expressing their opposition to or demanding a thorough Diet discussion on a bill to establish procedures for constitutional revision.

The number of similar statements, including those of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and the Tohoku Federation of Bar Associations, has reached 32, according to the JFBA secretariat.

These statements criticized the bill for allowing a small minority of the public the possibility to revise the Constitution because by its failure to set the minimum voter turnout required for the referendum to be valid. Pointing to this issue, the Osaka Bar Association chair in a statement stated, and “There is no guarantee that the referendum result will satisfactorily reflect the intention of the public as a whole.”

Concerning the restrictions that the bill will impose on the involvement of public servants and teachers in campaigns regarding constitutional revision, the Wakayama Bar Association stated that the bill is “totally unacceptable in light of the principle of popular sovereignty.”

Many bar associations also pointed to problems of the bill such as the paid advertisements that can be freely aired up to two weeks before the voting day and the short period in which the general public will have to get acquainted with a proposal to be put to the referendum.

A statement by the Fukuoka Bar Association chair challenged the current composition of the Diet, the House of Representatives in particular, stating, “The current Diet was elected primarily to deal with the postal services privatization issue, definitely not to deal with a national referendum bill that concerns a constitutional revision.”

The Okayama Bar Association chair demanded more prudent Diet discussion about the necessity of the enactment of a procedure law to revise the Constitution as well as the content of the bill.

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations issued statements twice in August and December last year that expressed an in-depth criticism of the bill.
- Akahata, April 11, 2007
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