June 9, 2017
Tokyo- Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party on Thursday proposed that the Emperor be defined as the head of state under the country's constitution, an idea immediately objected by opposition parties.
"It could be possible for the Emperor to be defined as the head of state under the constitution by interpreting the Emperor's status that represents the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people as a head of state," LDP lawmaker Takumi Nemoto said.
The Emperor has responsibility for representing Japan in foreign relations, Nemoto said at a meeting of the House of Representatives Commission on the Constitution.
Under the constitution, the Emperor's status is currently defined as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people."
Nemoto's remarks are in line with a draft proposal for constitutional amendments that the LDP came up with in 2012, in which the Emperor is described as the head of state of Japan and the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people.
Opposition lawmakers argued against Nemoto's proposal.
Shuhei Kishimoto of the largest opposition Democratic Party said, "Defining the Emperor, who has no administrative power, as the head of state would lead to misunderstanding."
Seiken Akamine of the Japanese Communist Party said, "It's evident that (the proposal) runs counter to the principle of popular sovereignty." Kantoku Teruya of the Social Democratic Party said the proposal has a clear purpose of deifying the Emperor.
Even ruling coalition lawmakers raised questions about the proposal. Hajime Funada of the LDP said: "The Emperor has no power. It would be unsuitable to describe the Emperor as the head of state."
The DP's Kishimoto separately sought a law revision to allow female members of the Imperial Family to establish branches of the family as a way to ensure stable Imperial succession. (Jiji press)
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