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Abe a 'defeatist' for not backing LDP's constitutional amendment draft: Ishiba

Shigeru Ishiba speaks during a seminar for his faction at a Tokyo hotel on May 9, 2017. (Mainichi)

Former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba expressed unfavorable views of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's proposal for constitutional amendment, saying Abe had a "defeatist" mentality for not sticking to the ruling party's 2012 draft for a revised Constitution.

Prime Minister Abe has said he aims to create a new draft for constitutional amendment by adding a paragraph defining the existence of the Self-Defense Forces to Article 9 while retaining its first paragraph that renounces war and the second paragraph banning Japan from possessing any potential for war.

On Abe's proposal, Ishiba told reporters, "What is that we (as a political party) have been doing (if that's what the prime minister wants to do)?" after his faction's gathering on May 9. He then called the prime minister's move "defeatist" as it suggests he thinks the LDP's draft revision would never pass the Diet.

Furthermore, Ishiba said he "didn't quite understand" what the prime minister's thoughts on the Constitution are even after reading his interview carried in the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper's May 3 issue, referring to Abe's earlier comment during a Diet session in which he told an opposition party lawmaker to read the Yomiuri interview "thoroughly" to learn about his thoughts.

"I can't agree with making a hasty move to revise the Constitution without a deep awareness of the supreme law," Ishiba added, demanding in-depth discussions within the ruling party.

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