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LDP eyes 4 items to be included in constitutional revision draft this year

In this May 24, 2017 file photo, a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party's Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution is seen. (Mainichi)

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) plans to compile a concrete draft for revisions to the Constitution this year, considering four items to change including a reference to Japan's Self-Defense Forces, the head of the party's headquarters on constitutional revision formally indicated on June 6.

Speaking at a meeting of the LDP Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision to the Constitution, chief Okiharu Yasuoka stated, "We'd like to compile a concrete party proposal by around the end of the year at the latest." He added, "The public's understanding won't progress through abstract debate. By issuing a concrete proposal, the public's understanding will deepen, and we'll be able to seek a correct decision."

Yasuoka indicated that four items for constitutional revision would be considered: clarifying the status of the Self-Defense Forces in war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution; making education including higher education free; adding an emergency clause that would enable the term of Diet members to be extended during major disasters and other emergency situations; and providing a clause on the election system with reference to merged constituencies.

A former version of the party's headquarters for constitutional revision had nine members, including the chief, but the current one has 21. They include LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura, and LDP Executive Acting Secretary-General Hakubun Shimomura. Another member is former LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba, who has expressed criticism toward Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's stance of adding a clause to clarify the Self-Defense Forces while maintaining the first and second paragraphs of Article 9 of the Constitution, which "renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes," and state that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained."

The LDP will make adjustments on the proposed revisions with its coalition partner Komeito, while proceeding with discussion within the party.

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