Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ignited his drive for a constitutional revision on the first day of an extraordinary parliamentary session on August 1, emphasizing “national interest.”
According to Japan’s NHK television, Abe said he wants to resolve “troubling issues” such as the country’s low birth rate, aging population and a constitutional revision in the midst of an “international situation with increasing gravity.” He made the remark during a speech at a meeting of former Japanese lawmakers from his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). His mention of an “international situation with increasing gravity” is seen as including the ongoing diplomatic conflict with South Korea over Japan’s wartime forced labor issues and restrictions on exports to South Korea.
Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso also stressed the need to discuss a constitutional revision during a meeting of his faction members. He urged each political party to submit its own constitutional revision proposal to push for the passage of one that would win support from two thirds or more among lawmakers. Abe’s ruling coalition won 160 seats in last month’s Upper House elections, just four seats short of the numbers required to push through a revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution.
Immediately after the elections, Abe expressed his will to seek a revision by joining hands with some opposition parties. The opposition Democratic Party for the People, which has 24 seats in the parliament, said it will be actively involved in constitutional revision discussions.