On the Verge of History

Nach der Wahl zum japanischen Oberhaus (Sangiin) am 10. Juli 2016
Source:  Pacific Forum CSIS, Honolulu, Hawaii.  11. Juli 2016
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On the verge of history?
Japan’s 2016 election and prospects for Article 9 revision

by Adam P. Liff

"The LDP has held the goal of revising the Constitution since its formation and it included that goal in its platform for governing. However, amending the Constitution will mean having a national referendum. As serious discussions are held in the two Constitution commissions and as public understanding deepens, I hope conclusions are reached about what articles to amend."

So spoke a triumphant Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo from Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headquarters late in the night of July 10. The ruling LDP-Komeito coalition’s solid Upper House election victory – each party yielded a net gain of five seats – moves to the front burner the prospect of the first-ever revision of Japan’s 1946 “Peace Constitution.” With smaller opposition parties open to lending their support, by most counts the pro-revision camp now enjoys a two-thirds majority in the 242-seat Upper House through 2019. Coupled with the ruling coalition’s two-thirds majority in the 475-seat Lower House (through 2018), it appears to have the votes necessary to meet the first two of three conditions for Constitutional revision. (The third condition is majority support in a public referendum.) ...

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