(Nikkei: July 30, 2015 – p. 4)
The government has begun trying to reconcile its differences with the Japan Innovation Party over the security-related bills. Although the ruling parties failed to reach an agreement in their talks on revising the bills immediately before they were put to a vote, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe mentioned the possibility of revising the government-sponsored legislation at a debate in the House of Councillors on July 29. The support rating for the Abe cabinet has plunged due to factors such as the government’s railroading of the legislation in the House of Representatives. Abe apparently is trying to smoothly pass the legislation through the Upper House by winning the JIP over to his side.
At the Upper House Special Committee on Peace and Security of Japan on July 29, Abe praised the JIP’s idea of allowing the use of the right to collective self-defense before Japan is attacked by another country. He even mentioned that “if an accord is reached in deliberations between (the ruling coalition and the JIP), I want to respond in a serious manner.” He implied the possibility of revising the government’s sponsored legislation.
Toranosuke Katayama, chairman of the JIP caucus in the Upper House, expressed the view on July 29 that the JIP will submit to the Upper House a counterproposal to the government’s legislation and have the counterproposal deliberated in tandem with the government bills. New Komeito Policy Research Council Chair Keiichi Ishii also said emphatically: “We are ready to revise the legislation if we can reach an agreement.”
However, there is little leeway for bridging the gaps between the government and the JIP. In connection with minesweeping in the Strait of Hormuz, which Abe has cited as an example for the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, a senior JIP member clearly said on July 29: “Unless the government gives up on Hormuz, it will be difficult for us to come to terms with each other.” (Abridged)