At a cabinet meeting on May 16, the government adopted a written response stating that the cabinet can submit motions for constitutional revision to the Diet. This was in response to a written question from Democratic Party House of Councillors member Hiroyuki Konishi. While this reflects the government’s position that legally speaking, it is possible for the cabinet to submit motions for constitutional revision, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has indicated that Diet members should be the ones to do so.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also stated at his news conference on May 16: “The government has no plans to submit any proposals.”
The written response explains that “it is possible for the cabinet to do so, since it can submit bills to the Diet under Article 72 of the Constitution.”
Suga also commented on the possibility of the House of Representatives being dissolved after motions for constitutional revision are submitted to be voted on by the people in a referendum. He said: “Generally speaking, the cabinet decides on the dissolution of the Lower House, so this is not ruled out.” He thus indicated that this would not constitute a restriction on the power to dissolve the Diet.
Inasmuch as Article 96 of the Constitution on amendment procedures does not rule out holding a national election and a referendum simultaneously, certain administration officials hold the opinion that this option needs to be looked into.