In an interview with the Tokyo Shimbun on July 20, Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief representative of Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said in the beginning that it is a “desirable process” to build consensus with other parties, including the largest opposition Democratic Party (DP), for constitutional revision, for which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has expressed his eagerness. Yamaguchi then stated that, “It will be difficult to produce an agreement suitable for proposing a thorough (constitutional revision) in a short period, such as during one Diet session or in one year.”
In order to revise the Constitution, the constitutional commissions in both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors deliberate on a draft constitutional amendment plan first. It is adopted by two-thirds of commission members attending the session. If it is approved, or more than a two-thirds majority in the two Diet chambers agrees, the Diet can propose constitutional amendment. If a majority of the votes in a national referendum is approved, the Constitution can be revised.
Regarding discussions in his party on narrowing down amendment items, Yamaguchi said: “It will take considerable time for it. It is unnecessary to set the deadline such as one year. We are not in a situation in which we can determine [timeline] for it.”
On Article 9 of the Constitution, he stated, “Unless the public seeks for ‘a change’ in the present constitutional interpretation and peace and safety legislation (security laws), there are no problems with these issues. There is no need to change [Article 9].”
He urged the DP to promote discussions saying, “President (Katsuya) Okada has not completely rejected discussions in the constitutional commissions. He is softening his stance.” (Slightly abridged)