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Editorial: There is work to be done before amending the constitution

As a result of the 24th House of Councillors election held on July 10, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito, plus two other parties in favor of constitutional revision – Initiatives from Osaka (Osaka Ishin no Kai) and Party for Japanese Kokoro – and a number of independent Diet members now control a two-thirds majority in the Upper House, which will enable them to submit motions for constitutional amendment.


If the Commission on the Constitution in both houses of the Diet suddenly moves to discussing concrete proposals for amendment, even though constitutional revision had not been an issue in this national election, we have to say that this is questionable from the standpoint of democratic procedures.


As constitutional revision emerges as an item on the political agenda, certain issues need to be taken into account. Although constitutional revision is a longstanding LDP policy and this party has drawn up amendment proposals, its second draft, compiled when the party was in opposition, is too conservative and unacceptable to many people. We ask that the LDP engage in an internal debate on revising these proposals.


Since amendment of the constitution will not be possible without winning the approval of a majority in a national referendum, even if amendment motions are actually submitted, the LDP should engage the ruling and opposition parties in in-depth discussions and make diligent efforts to build consensus.


A situation where the society becomes sharply divided over constitutional revision should be avoided.


There is no doubt that certain issues, such as provisions on national emergencies to deal with major disasters or revisions to prevent the merger of electoral districts [in order to remedy the disparity in the weight of one vote], need to be tackled as soon as possible.


While it is indeed necessary to debate constitutional revision, we doubt if this is the top priority political issue.


As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe himself admits, the Abenomics policies have “yet to reach fruition.” The administration should focus on economic revitalization at this point and constitutional revision should be regarded as an issue at the discussion stage. (Abridged)

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