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36% oppose adding SDF clause to pacifist Constitution: Mainichi poll

Some 36 percent of people oppose the idea of adding a new clause specifying the existence of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to the Constitution while retaining the two paragraphs of the war-renouncing Article 9, a Mainichi Shimbun survey has revealed.

Furthermore, in the same nationwide poll, which was conducted between June 17 and 18, 27 percent of respondents said that they agree with an SDF clause being added to the supreme law, while 30 percent said they were uncertain.

On May 3, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed his plan to enact a revised Constitution in 2020. However, in this latest Mainichi Shimbun poll, it was found that 60 percent of respondents think that, "There is no need to rush (concerning discussions about revising the Constitution)," while only 25 percent think that "there is a need to rush." These results are similar to those found in a previous Mainichi poll in May, in the sense that the overriding stance concerning constitutional amendment talks is one of caution.

However, with regard to the issue of specifying the existence of the SDF in the Constitution, the questions in the May survey were different to those in the June poll -- making it difficult to make a straightforward comparison. Nevertheless, in the previous survey, the results in response to the corresponding question about mentioning the SDF in the supreme law were 31 percent "against," 28 percent "in favor," and 32 percent "uncertain."

As for the special law allowing for the Emperor's abdication, respondents were asked to express their views over Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga's recent statement in the Diet that "such a law could possibly form a precedent for the future" -- acknowledging that future emperors, in effect, may also be able to abdicate. The results found that 75 percent of respondents value the move, while only 7 percent do not.

There were other questions in the poll such as one on the issue of allowing female Imperial Family members to establish their own branch houses after marrying to commoners. Regarding this idea, 50 percent of respondents showed support, while 14 percent were against, and 23 percent were uncertain. In the previous poll, which came after the news broke about the possible engagement of Emperor Akihito's granddaughter, Princess Mako, 41 percent of respondents were in favor of female-led Imperial Family branches, while 20 percent were against, and 25 percent were uncertain.

Meanwhile, with regard to Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, 44 percent of pollees expressed their support for her, which is a drop of 26 points from the 70 percent figure in a previous poll in November 2016. In addition, the percentage of those who do not support Koike was found to be 15 percent, a rise of 8 points. However, restricting to Tokyo's central 23 wards, the figures were 60 percent for those in support of Koike and 20 percent who do not.

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