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54% of election winners want to add SDF clause to Constitution

Fifty-four percent of successful candidates in the recent general election are in favor of adding a clause to war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution that specifies the existence of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), Mainichi Shimbun analysis has revealed.

However, this percentage falls short of the figure of 310 members (i.e. two-thirds of the House of Representatives), that would be necessary to initiate a change to the supreme law.

The Mainichi Shimbun tallied winners' responses to a survey the daily had conducted on all candidates in the election prior to voting.

The number of lower house members from parties other than the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) who are in favor of adding the new clause, proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is less than 50 percent.

Meanwhile, the percentage of those who are against revising Article 9 was found to be 24 percent. In addition, the proportion of those in favor of adding text to the Constitution recognizing an extension to a Diet member's term in office in the event of an emergency, such as a major disaster, was found to be 68 percent -- which is more than two-thirds of the lower house.

Eighty-two percent of elected candidates were found to be in favor of revising the Constitution itself -- which is similar to the figure at the time of the 2014 general election -- and 13 percent were found to be against the move. Some 75 percent of LDP members agreed with adding the SDF clause to Article 9, while 14 percent were in favor of adding the term "national defense forces" to the Constitution, which was included in a draft constitution drawn up by the LDP in 2012.

Meanwhile, 36 percent of candidates who successfully ran on the ticket of the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito were found to be against amending the Constitution, while 32 percent refrained from answering. Twenty-one percent of Komeito lower house members were in favor of adding a clause to Article 9 specifying the existence of the SDF.

With regard to the Party of Hope, 47 percent of its successful candidates were found to be in favor of the SDF clause, while 39 percent were against it. The head of the party, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, has rapidly failed to unite her members in recent weeks, resulting in tension within the party. As for Nippon Ishin, 73 percent of election winners failed to respond.

In the case of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP), 98 percent of those elected to the lower chamber were found to be against amending Article 9, while all successful candidates of both the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) stated that they are against the proposal.

With regard to the extension of a Diet member's term in office in the event of an emergency, 94 percent of LDP winners and 61 percent of successful Komeito candidates said that they are in favor. As for the Party of Hope, 43 percent support the proposal and 47 percent are against, while 91 percent of CDP members and 82 percent of Nippon Ishin politicians oppose such action. All the JCP and SDP Diet members are against the plan.

On the issue of eliminating House of Councillors electoral districts comprising multiple prefectures, 61 percent of winners are in agreement. However, with regard to those from parties other than the LDP, 82 percent from Komeito, 84 percent from the CDP, and 91 percent from Nippon Ishin are against the move.

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