May 22, 2017
Tokyo- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday underscored the need for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to draw up within this year its proposal on constitutional revisions.
"The LDP, the largest political party in Japan, should fulfill its responsibility by coming up with its constitutional revision proposal this year, which marks the 70th anniversary of the effectuation of the top Japanese law," Abe said in the recording of a radio program of Nippon Broadcasting System Inc.
It is the first time that Abe, also president of the LDP, has referred to a specific timing for the LDP to work out its proposal for amending the constitution.
Abe, who has recently expressed his hope, in his capacity as LDP chief, to see an amended constitution go into force in 2020, is believed to be aiming to accelerate discussions on overhauling the national charter within the party, apparently keeping in mind the possibility of submitting a draft of a revised constitution to next year's regular session of the Diet, the country's parliament, informed sources said.
On articles that he believes should be revised, Abe said, "It is the responsibility of our generation to put an end to the argument on whether the Self-Defense Forces is unconstitutional," stressing that the existence of the SDF should be stipulated in Article 9 of the constitution.
Article 9 spells out that the Japanese people "forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling inter national disputes" and that Japan will never have "land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential."
Abe also sounded positive on opposition party Nippon Ishin no Kai's proposal for making higher education free, saying, "I hope to have discussions on how the matter should be written in the constitution." The constitution currently says, in Article 26, that compulsory education "shall be free."
"As the leader of the largest political party, I'm responsible for publicizing the need for constitutional revisions, and deepening and promoting discussions on the issue," Abe stressed.
Abe urged the biggest opposition Democratic Party to come up with its idea onconstitutional amendments, rather than focusing on criticizing him over issues related to the constitution. (Jiji Press)
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