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2014 March 5 - 11 [POLITICS]

Abe faces internal criticisms on collective self-defense push

March 8, 2014
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is pushing ahead with his attempts to revise constitutional interpretations in order to legalize Japan’s exercise of the right to collective self-defense. His high-handed manner is provoking objections and criticism even from the ruling coalition.

Yamasaki Taku, who served as secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party between 2001 and 2003, on March 4 on a satellite TV program said that Abe’s attitude in Diet discussions is getting “arrogant”, which is clearly shown in his attempt to effectively amend the Constitution by revising its interpretations. Yamasaki stated that it is not the prime minister but the general public that can change the Constitution. “The procedure of amending the supreme law is provided by the Constitution itself,” the ex-LDP lawmaker stressed.

Urushibara Yoshio, chair of the diet affairs committee of the Komei Party, the LDP’s coalition partner, criticized Abe’s move for neglecting to listen to the people, and stated that it is totally unacceptable. Former LDP Vice President Oshima Tadamori expressed his approval of this remark.

Under this situation, PM Abe told Ishiba Shigeru and other LDP executives to obtain the consent of lawmakers in the ruling bloc in regard to the revision of the constitutional interpretation. He decided to hold a special internal meeting of LDP members on March 17 to discuss the issue. This will be the first meeting of this kind after the one held in 2005 when the party was split in two regarding the privatization of postal services.

An influential LDP lawmaker said that Abe’s attempt to revise constitutional interpretation is “nonsense”. “There is no urgent need for Japan’s exercise of the right to collective self-defense. I strongly oppose the Self-Defense Forces’ participating in wars abroad,” he added.
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