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Ishiba willing to accept LDP constitutional revision proposal on Article 9

Former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP Secretary General Shigeru Ishiba discussed the proposal the party’s Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution (chaired by Hiroyuki Hosoda) is considering for the revision of Article 9 of the Constitution during an interview with Nikkei. He indicated the possibility of accepting the retention of Paragraph 2 which prohibits the maintenance of war potential. The fact that Ishiba, who had previously advocated deleting Paragraph 2, is now condoning its retention is likely to greatly enhance consensus building on the proposal centering on retaining Paragraph 2.

 

The constitutional revision headquarters’ leadership is currently pursuing a consensus on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s proposal to retain Paragraph 2 and add a provision that will serve as the legal basis for the existence of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF).

 

Ishiba said that he will express his own ideas, but may agree with the leadership’s policy.

 

With a consensus now likely on retaining Paragraph 2, the constitutional revision headquarters will move forward to reach agreement in the party on the proposals to revise Article 9 to be submitted for approval at the party convention on March 25. This will be followed by the submission of the proposals to the Commissions on the Constitution of both houses of the Diet.

 

The question from now on will be the wording of the provisions. There is a proposal in the LDP to stipulate that the SDF is a “minimum required armed force.” Another proposal calls for not naming the SDF, but adding a Paragraph 3 which states that Paragraph 2 “does not preclude the invocation of the right of self-defense.”

 

The LDP is deliberating constitutional amendments on four subjects, namely: revision of Article 9, provisions on a state of emergency, elimination of joint House of Councillors electoral districts, and improvement of education. Komeito, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and other parties are taking a cautious stance on constitutional revision. Therefore, discussions between the ruling and opposition parties on submitting amendment motions to the Diet are likely to be tricky.

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