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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 September 19 - 25  > Election defeat and Abe’s resignation: Double shock to pro-constitutional revision forces
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2007 September 19 - 25 [POLITICS]

Election defeat and Abe’s resignation: Double shock to pro-constitutional revision forces

September 22, 2007
The double shock from the Liberal Democratic Party’s devastating defeat in the recent House of Councilors election and Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s resignation has deflated the pro-constitutional revision forces.

Both Fukuda Yasuo and Aso Taro, the two candidates in the LDP presidential election, have avoided the constitutional revision issue as shown in their campaign promises that contain no reference to the Constitution.

An LDP-led national conference for the enactment of a new constitution on September 19 held its meeting in the Diet building in an attempt to rebuild their movement demanding constitutional revision.

In the meeting, Nakayama Taro, chair of the LDP’s intraparty panel on the Constitution, initially planned to talk about ongoing activities on constitutional revision as well as its prospects. He was absent ostensibly due to his busy schedule in the LDP presidential election, but sources said Nakayama became unable to present a plan for constitutional revision.

“The formation of the Abe cabinet was favorable for us. But, after the Upper House election and Prime Minister Abe’s resignation, things suddenly changed for the worse,” said the national conference’s official.

The LDP is now forced to shelve its plan for constitutional revision to be made three years later that Akahata disclosed in May.

The official that drew up this plan said, “That plan has become rubbish.”

Nakayama has informed various circles concerned of his intention to put off the establishment the House of Representatives Deliberative Council on the Constitution until the ordinary Diet session next year.

However, members of the forces advocating constitutional revision are trying to take steps to regain lost ground.

At an LDP Lower House members’ party on September 18, Health Minister Masuzoe Yoichi, who was in charge of producing the LDP’s draft of the constitution, expressed his determination, saying, “Although we suffered a defeat in the election, a cabinet reshuffle took place, and the prime minister resigned, we have not given up our desire for constitutional revision. We will make every effort to achieve this objective.”

The Japan Conference (Nippon Kaigi), the core of the pro-constitutional revision forces, together with its parliamentary league is planning to prop up the movement at its assembly marking its 10th founding anniversary on October 6.

Prime Minister Abe himself had firmly clung to constitutional revision until the announcement of his resignation.

Soon after the House of Councilors election, in which the public expressed “No” to LDP policies, Abe took measures through the LDP national strategy headquarters to rejuvenate the LDP posture aimed at constitutional revision. He ordered this headquarters to resume its committee in charge of drawing up a national vision, and this committee was to start in September its work for promoting the Abe vision centered on constitutional revision.

In a policy speech Abe made two days before the announcement of his resignation, he called for active Diet discussion on constitutional revision, stating, “The enactment of the National Referendum Law has created an environment conducive to further discussions on revision.”

“This law is a gift from Prime Minister Abe. He produced a legal base to push constitutional revision after his resignation. We will proceed again from this base,” said a LDP Dietmember favoring constitutional revision.

However, LDP pro-constitutional revision Dietmembers recognize the difficulties they are facing.

“Specific discussions, such as on Article 9, tend to alienate the public from considering constitutional revision. Prime Minister Abe put up a revision of the Constitution to be achieved in his tenure as his task. But present circumstances do not allow the next cabinet to push for constitutional revision,” he said.
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