The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is stepping up efforts to solicit the opposition parties’ support before it submits its constitutional revision proposals to the current extraordinary Diet session in its effort to revive the stagnating constitutional debate. It is particularly hoping for the Democratic Party for the People’s (DPFP) cooperation in steering the Commissions on the Constitution of both houses of the Diet since this party is amenable to engaging in the debate. A proposal has emerged to use the LDP’s agreement to discuss the DPFP’s amendment proposals for the National Referendum Law to win over this party.
The LDP plans to resume deliberations at the House of Representatives Commission on the Constitution as soon as Nov. 8 to pass amendments to the Referendum Law, such as allowing joint voting stations to be set up, at an early date, after which it wants to hold “free discussions” by the ruling and opposition parties at the Lower House constitution commission, where the LDP’s constitutional revision proposals will be presented.
However, the number one opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ), has not even agreed to discuss the schedule of meetings with the LDP, so it is still uncertain if deliberations will resume as planned. CDPJ leader Yukio Edano asserts that these proposals “need to be discussed for several years.” He is also not amenable to debating any constitutional revisions.
Therefore, the LDP has turned its attention to the DPFP, the number two opposition party.
This party’s position is that “it will not refuse to discuss (the constitution) if the conditions are right for an amicable debate,” according to its leader Yuichiro Tamaki.
The DPFP compiled in late October its own amendment proposals for the Referendum Law, including a ban on TV commercials by political parties. The LDP has been negative about tightening restrictions on commercials, but there is now growing tolerance for taking up the DPFP’s proposals at the Commissions on the Constitution, on condition that the “free discussions” will lso take place.
Komeito also attaches great importance to cooperation with the opposition on constitutional revision. Its leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said that “a broad consensus involving the opposition parties is essential.” Obtaining the DPFP’s cooperation will be killing two birds with one stone for the LDP.
However, the DPFP is wary about the division of the opposition. Certain party members maintain that “agreeing to discuss constitutional revision and being seen as a pro-revision force may have an adverse effect on the House of Councillors election.” This party is still agonizing over the optimum distance to take from the LDP. (Abridged)