The draft of a campaign policy for 2017, which the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) unveiled on Feb. 21, states that the party will take a specific step toward proposing a draft of constitutional revisions.
The phrase was incorporated in the LDP's campaign policy for the first time at the instruction of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who heads the party, according to party officials. The governing party is set to officially approve the campaign policy at a party convention on March 5.
The original draft of the campaign policy stated that the party will aim to consider and draft the original bill to revise the Constitution, as did the 2016 campaign policy. However, the party incorporated the phrase, "initiating a draft of constitutional revisions," in its campaign policy draft at the instruction of the prime minister.
A senior member of the LDP said, "This reflects the prime minister's strong will to pave the way for constitutional amendment."
Political parties in favor of constitutional revisions, including the LDP, its coalition partner Komeito and Nippon Ishin no Kai, have over two-thirds of seats in both chambers of the Diet. Under Article 96 of the Constitution, revisions to the supreme law "shall be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each house" and be submitted to the public for ratification in a referendum.
The LDP is trying to narrow down clauses to be amended in the commissions on the Constitution in both chambers.
Touching on the fact that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the postwar Constitution coming into force, the draft of the LDP campaign policy also states that the party "will speed up discussions on the Constitution in the Diet and clearly show a road map toward constitutional revisions to the public."
Moreover, the campaign policy underscored the need to train younger LDP legislators to enhance their own chance of winning elections and be well versed in policy matters with the next House of Representatives election fully in mind.
"Whether we can win the election depends on first- and second-term legislators. It is an important task for us to train these younger lawmakers to be strong in elections and well-versed in policy matters," the draft of the party's campaign policy says.