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CDPJ’s Edano, Party of Hope’s Tamaki take different approaches in Diet interpellations

The ruling and opposition parties began their first full-fledged debate after the recent House of Representatives election with the start of representative interpellations at the Lower House. While the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) adopted an openly confrontational attitude toward Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Party of Hope advocated “realistic foreign and security policies.” The difference between the two parties’ positions became apparent with the debut of their leaders in Diet interpellations.


CDPJ leader Yukio Edano, who took the podium at the plenary session, criticized the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) discussions on constitutional revision sternly. He demanded: “First, tell us that you will uphold the existing Constitution.” Ruling party members reacted with jeers, while opposition lawmakers applauded.


Edano’s representative interpellation was filled with aggressive language. He called the security laws that authorize the limited exercise of the right to collective self-defense an “18th Century violation of constitutionalism.” He said that the proposal to add a constitutional provision on the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) would constitute “a serious deviation from the strictly defensive policy.” He criticized the LDP’s demand to increase its question time in the Diet committees as “egoistic.”


On the other hand, Party of Hope leader Yuichiro Tamaki stated repeatedly that his party seeks to pursue realistic foreign and security policies. He gave “high marks” to the recent Japan-U.S. summit and indicated opposition to a conciliatory policy toward North Korea.


With regard to the security laws, the Party of Hope will aim at proposing amendments to apply stricter conditions for invoking these laws, distancing itself clearly from the CDPJ, which calls these laws outright “unconstitutional.”


On the issue of constitutional revision, the Party of Hope shows willingness to respond to the LDP’s call for “broad-ranging debate,” citing the people’s right to know, local autonomy, and other issues as possible topics.


Komeito Diet Affairs Committee Chair Yoshinori Oguchi expressed a certain amount of appreciation of the Party of Hope’s position after the Diet session, commenting to reporters, “It is now clear that the party is not opposed to constitutional debate under the Abe administration.”


Abe responded to Edano’s and Tamaki’s interpellations calmly. He maintained equal distance from the two parties. (Abridged)

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