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Ruling, opposition parties reach basic agreement on national referendum revision bill

At a directors’ meeting of the Lower House Research Commission on the Constitution on May 31, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Komeito Party, Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), Democratic Party for the People (DPFP), Japan Innovation Party (Nippon Ishin) and Party of Hope (Kibo) reached a basic agreement on the joint submission to the Diet of revisions to the national referendum law stipulating procedures for amending the Constitution. They will present the revision bill to the Diet as early as June 6 and aim to enact it during the current session.


The purpose of the revision bill, which covers seven areas, is to apply to national referendums the system introduced when the Pubic Offices Election Act was revised in 2016 to make it easier for people to vote in elections. The LDP and Komeito initially included the expansion of the “vote-by-mail” system, which has not yet been introduced for national elections, in their draft proposal, but to win the consent of the opposition parties, they presented the revision proposal with this part omitted  


Ishin and Kibo agreed on the revision proposal presented on the day. The CDPJ and DPFP are calling for making further revisions, such as the introduction of tougher regulations on TV commercials during national referendum campaigns, and agreed to the proposal on the condition that the ruling parties will state in writing that the matter will be further debated. The DPFP will likely complete internal procedures soon. According to a participant of the directors’ meeting, the Group of Independents, which is made up of independent lawmakers, also expressed a similar stance. The Liberal Party plans to hold internal discussions on the proposal, whereas the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party expressed opposition to it. (Abridged)

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