Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on May 3 used some of his strongest language in connection with the planned revisions of the Peaceful Constitution in a visible call for conservative elements of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
Suga’s predecessor, Shinzo Abe, made no secret of his strong desire to revise the Constitution.
But since Suga took office as prime minister in September 2020, he has simply expressed the expectation that the diet debate on the issue will move forward in response to questions from the media and lawmakers.
That changed on May 3, which was Constitution Day, a national holiday.
In a video message delivered at a group meeting postponing constitutional review, Suga brought the new coronavirus pandemic.
Interest is growing about the need to prepare for an emergency, such as pandemic treatment, Suga said. In order to protect the life and safety of the public during emergencies, such as major natural disasters, an extremely important and serious issue is how to establish within the Constitution the roles that the people and the state should play.
The LDP has called for four constitutional changes, including the introduction of an article of state of emergency, which could restrict public rights during contingencies, and the wording within Article 9 of renunciation of war that clearly expresses the need to have Forces of Self-Defense.
Suga touched on the fact that more than 70 years have passed since the adoption of the Constitution.
Parts that no longer match current times or are insufficient need to be reviewed, he said.
Suga said the SDF should be written into the Constitution, given that the majority of the public is grateful for the efforts of SDF members who have been sent to help after natural disasters or to deal with the new coronavirus pandemic.
He also said that an important first step is the adoption of legislation to review the national referendum law and the establishment of procedures for the current amendment of the Constitution.
The ruling coalition is seeking to vote on the measure at the May 6th session of the lower house Constitution commission.
Suga may have taken a more conservative stance in his May 3 video message because he is thinking ahead of this fall, when his term as LDP president ends and the Lower House elections will also have to be held.
Constitution Day also brought forth defenders of the supreme laws of the nations.
Leaders of opposition parties attended an online session on May 3rd sponsored by a group opposing what would be the first changes to the post-war Constitution.
Yukio Edano, leader of the Democratic Constitutional Party of Japan, said there was no need for a new state of emergency clause in the Constitution because restrictions on personal rights are already possible if they improve public welfare.
The reason why the proper measures have not been implemented is due to unfounded optimism and the policy decision not to set the highest priority in protecting people’s lives and livelihoods, Edano said.
He said the ruling coalition was trying to blame the Constitution, which has nothing to do with what needs to be done.
While Edano did not mention the move to revise the national referendum law now before the Diet, Kazuo Shii, the leader of the Japanese Communist Party who appeared at the same meeting, called for a blockade of the legislation, saying it would only set the stage for the constitution. review
(This article was written by Naotaka Fujita, a senior staff writer, and Maho Yoshikawa.)
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