The Daily Manila Shimbun


Coronavirus Makes Abe’s Constitutional Reform More Unfeasible

May 3, 2020

Tokyo- The coronavirus pandemic seems to make it even more difficult for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to realize a reform of the country's Constitution before his current term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party ends in September 2021.

While Japan, on Sunday, marks the 73rd anniversary of the Constitution being put into effect, the ongoing state of emergency over the coronavirus does not allow lawmakers to discuss constitutional reform in a calm atmosphere.

"The momentum for constitutional reform has decreased due to the coronavirus," an LDP executive said, adding that it is difficult to achieve constitutional reform while Abe is in power.

Before Abe declared the coronavirus emergency on April 7, he claimed at a parliamentary committee meeting that stipulating in the top law what roles the government and the people should play in emergencies is a very significant issue.

After the coronavirus crisis began to deepen earlier this year, the LDP proposed a meeting of the Commission on the Constitution of each Diet chamber to discuss the issue of maintaining the Diet's functions in times of crisis.

The LDP pointed out that the Diet might be unable to hold a plenary meeting if the epidemic spreads among lawmakers, as the Constitution requires a meeting of the upper or lower Diet chamber to be attended by at least a third of its members.

The opposition camp rejected the LDP proposal, however, claiming that all parties should be concentrated on dealing with the coronavirus epidemic.

"We can proceed (with talks on constitutional reform) in a calm environment after the coronavirus situation settles down," Democratic Party for the People leader Yuichiro Tamaki told a press conference on Friday.

Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, is also cautious about hasty talks on revising the Constitution. "It's important to hold discussions on constitutional issues in a calm manner," Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said on Thursday. Jiji Press