One of the key points in the House of Councillors election is whether parties in favor of constitutional revision will be able to win a two-thirds majority, which is required for submitting motions for constitutional amendment. Specifically, the question is whether the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito, plus Initiatives from Osaka [Osaka Ishin no Kai] and the Party for Japanese Kokoro will be able to win 78 seats collectively.
The Upper House reelects half of its members – 121 out of 242 — every three years. The above four parties currently hold 84 of the 121 seats not being contested this time – LDP, 65; Komeito, 11; Osaka Ishin, 5; and Kokoro, 3.
A two-thirds majority in the 242-member Upper House translates into 162 seats. If the four parties are able to win 78 more seats in the upcoming election, they will be able to submit motions for constitutional amendment.
With the LDP and Komeito alone winning 76 seats in the past election, a senior LDP official observes that it is “not exactly a tall order” for the four pro-constitutional revision parties to win a total of 78 seats this time.
Asahi Shimbun’s investigations also show that among independent Upper House members not up for election this time, at least four are supportive of the Abe administration’s goal to revise the constitution, while a number of other lawmakers have not taken a stand on this issue. Even if the four parties fail to win 78 seats, the position taken by these Upper House members may ultimately lead to motions for constitutional amendment.
Meanwhile, the four opposition parties opposed to constitutional revision under the Abe administration are aiming at preventing the pro-constitutional revision parties from controlling a two-thirds majority. If the Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and the People’s Life Party succeed in winning 54 of the seats being contested, making a total of 81 seats combined with the 27 seats they currently hold that are not up for election, they will be able to control more than one third of the Upper House seats, which will be sufficient to block any motions for constitutional amendment. (Slightly abridged)