LDP Aims for Progress on Constitutional Revision

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a dialogue with young people about revising the Constitution at the Liberal Democratic Party’s headquarters in Tokyo on Saturday.

The Liberal Democratic Party on Saturday held a dialogue with young people on revising the Constitution, in order to build momentum for the issue ahead of a party convention.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who also serves as the LDP president, attended the discussions at the party’s headquarters. The ruling party hopes to make progress on a constitutional revision during the current Diet session, but both the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party have shown resistance.

It remains to be seen whether such discussions will proceed as the LDP intends.

“We must have as many people as possible think about the issue and build momentum” for a constitutional revision, Kishida said during the discussions.

The session was organized by the LDP’s Headquarters for the Realization of Revision of the Constitution, which is chaired by lower house lawmaker Keiji Furuya.

According to those who attended the discussions, Kishida attentively listened to the opinions of young people and others, who are engaged in activities to deepen public understanding of constitutional reform. He voiced his intention to be receptive to the public’s opinions and do his best to realize a revision.

With the aim of holding a total of 1,000 events and rallies during the current fiscal year, the party’s task force on constitutional revision has already held more than 700.

“Our generation will steadily change the Constitution for the sake of future generations,” Furuya said at the event on Saturday.

Kishida has vowed to achieve a constitutional revision during his term as LDP president, which will expire at the end of September 2024, so the LDP aims to have a draft of the revision worked out among the parties within this year.

In debate over constitutional revision during the current Diet session, the LDP intends to give priority to discussions about the extension of lawmakers’ terms to maintain the Diet’s functions in times of emergency. The LDP apparently believes it can gain cooperation on this issue from its ruling coalition party Komeito and opposition parties, Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) and the Democratic Party for the People. The LDP hopes to pave the way for a constitutional revision to be initiated by the Diet by the end of 2024.

On March 2, the lower house’s Commission on the Constitution is scheduled to hold a session, its first during the current Diet session. However, there have been persisting negative opinions about a constitutional revision among CDPJ members, especially leftists. Given the situation, the CDPJ rejected a proposal for the commission’s session to being held in February, citing deliberations on budget legislation for the next fiscal year as the reason.

On Wednesday, the CDPJ released an interim report on its view about constitutional revision, stating that the extension of the term of Diet members “requires consideration.”

Some LDP members believe that this statement is an excuse to avoid the CDPJ from being criticized for not opening to constitutional discussions.

On the other hand, Ishin and the DPFP, which are positive about discussing a constitutional revision, have increasingly shown dissatisfaction with slow progress on the debate. Regarding a referendum on a constitutional revision, Ishin’s leader Nobuyuki Baba said, “We should discuss the target timing.”

Some DPFP members have also raised questions over the LDP’s seriousness about revising the Constitution.