All papers reported heavily on Prime Minister Abe’s remarks at an Upper House Budget Committee yesterday, in which he stressed that adding a new clause on the SDF should be given top priority when revising the nation’s supreme law. The prime minister said: “What needs to be done right away concerns the SDF. It is the responsibility of our generation to alter the situation in which 70 to 80 percent of the nation’s constitutional scholars regard the SDF as unconstitutional….The existence of the SDF should be stipulated in the Constitution by adding a third paragraph to Article 9.” The prime minister said the first and second paragraphs of Article 9 should be left as is. Abe reiterated his resolve to amend the Constitution while he is in office.
The papers said the opposition bloc, except for Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), has reacted strongly to Abe’s renewed push for constitutional revision. Nikkei conjectured that Abe’s move is intended to widen the split between proponents and opponents within the Democratic Party. The largest opposition party plans to boycott debate on the Constitution scheduled for tomorrow at a special Lower House panel. Although the LDP leadership on Tuesday agreed to accelerate internal debate in order to achieve the prime minister’s goal of putting constitutional revision into effect in 2020, some ruling party lawmakers are skeptical of Abe’s idea to uphold Article 9 since it is not in line with the draft constitution that the LDP put together in 2012.