All national dailies reported extensively on the results of Sunday’s Upper House election, noting that although the ruling coalition of the LDP and Komeito party easily won a majority of the seats up for grabs, forces supportive of constitutional revision, including the two ruling parties and the Japan Innovation Party, lost their two-thirds majority in the chamber, which is necessary to propose amendments to the Diet for a popular vote. As for the opposition, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan captured a total of 17 seats, eight more than before the election. As other opposition parties either managed to maintain their previous seats or lost several seats, the dailies said the balkanization of the opposition camp apparently helped the ruling coalition to prevail in some hotly contested constituencies.
Prime Minister Abe commented on the election outcome by telling the press last night: “I think the public wants us to promote policies based on a firm political foundation.” Speaking on his pitch for constitutional amendment during the election campaign, the premier said: “Voters are hopeful that [parliamentary] discussions will be held without fail…. I would like to seek constitutional revision in my remaining years in office.” Abe reportedly said on a Sunday evening TV show that he hopes to hold a popular vote on a constitutional amendment before his term ends in September 2021. He also indicated that he plans to drive a wedge into the opposition camp so as to elicit support for an amendment from like-minded opposition lawmakers. Sankei wrote that Abe’s signature policy of amending the nation’s supreme law may not be easy to implement because the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan is bound to step up its opposition to revision under Abe’s premiership.