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POLITICS

LDP, Komeito lack two-thirds majority in Upper House to propose constitutional amendments

(Nikkei: April 16, 2015 – p. 4)

 

 The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe needs two-thirds of seats both in the Lower House and Upper House to propose constitutional amendments, which Abe has long wanted to achieve. In the Lower House, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) currently holds 292 seats and its coalition partner the Komeito party has 35. Their combined strengths top 317 seats, which is the threshold for two-thirds of the chamber.

 

 In the Upper House, however, the LDP and Komeito fall short of a two-thirds majority, which would be 162 seats. The LDP has 115 seats and Komeito has 20.

 

 To reach the two-thirds mark in the Upper House, the coalition partners need to win 27 more seats in next year’s Upper House election. The LDP is planning to call on industry groups to drum up support in proportional representation, but “the hurdle is high,” according to a LDP official.

 

 Gaining a two-thirds majority in the Upper House may become possible if the Japan Innovation Party, Party for Future Generations, and other forces in favor of constitutional amendment increase their seats and ally with the government. But opinion is divided within parties over which article of the Constitution should be given priority for revision.

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