Commenting on July 5 on policy issues that the Abe administration plans to address, Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi stated: “Our goal is economic revitalization and the promotion of Abenomics. The Constitution is not an issue the administration will work on.” He thus indicated that economic revitalization needs to be given higher priority than constitutional revision, in an oblique criticism of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is rushing to amend the Constitution.
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) intends to submit its constitutional revision proposals to the extraordinary Diet session this fall even after suffering a crushing defeat in the recent Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election. The two ruling parties now appear to differ on this issue.
Yamaguchi also made the following remarks on consultations with the LDP on constitutional revision: “The ruling coalition is a framework for supporting the government. This does not necessarily mean discussions on the Constitution. While we are amenable to exchange of views between political parties, the forum for building consensus is the Commissions on the Constitution in the Diet.” He stressed that he will respect deliberations in the Diet.
With regard to Abe’s plan to promulgate a new constitution in 2020, Yamaguchi pointed out that “this is a vision he presented to the party as the LDP president. We need to make efforts to build a consensus at the Commissions on the Constitution, and this process needs to proceed with the people’s understanding.” He said he will “watch” the constitutional revision debate in the LDP.