Ruling and opposition parties released statements in commemoration of Constitution Day on May 3. While the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Initiatives from Osaka, a minor opposition party, took stances to promote efforts for revising the Constitution, four opposition parties – the Democratic Party (DP), the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and the People’s Life Party – clarified their stance of opposing constitutional amendment under the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The LDP issued a statement saying: “We are now in a position to truly implement a national referendum on constitutional revision. While securing the understanding of people from all walks of life at every possible opportunity, we aim to look into and formulate a draft amendment to the Constitution.”
In light of the formulation of a draft constitutional amendment in March, focusing on the provision of free education, Initiatives from Osaka emphasized that “in order to make a proposal to the Diet, we will hold consultations with each party to seek the public’s understanding.”
The Party for Japanese Kokoro, a small opposition party, clarified that it will draw up a draft amendment before the House of Councillors election this summer.
The Komeito party, the LDP’s ruling coalition partner, stressed again that the present Constitution should be upheld with the addition of any necessary provisions. In a speech in Tokyo on May 2, Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said: “Even though discussing constitutional amendments should not be regarded as taboo, the manner of revising the Constitution must be sufficiently debated.”
Meanwhile, the DP takes the view that if the Abe administration wins the Upper House election, the administration will be certain to amend Article 9 to enable the unlimited exercise of the right to collective self-defense.” The main opposition party took a confrontational stand against Abe. In connection with its stance toward constitutional amendment, it remained noncommittal by saying, “The party platform stipulates that the party will create a future-oriented constitution together with the public.”
The JCP’s statement said: “We will broadly cooperate with other opposition parties in that ‘we will not allow the Abe administration to revise the Constitution,’ and focus our efforts on shattering its ambitions.”