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Nationalist Japan Conference-backed group passes resolution to amend Constitution

A resolution stating that "now is the time to rewrite Article 9 of the Constitution to legitimize the existence of the Self-Defense Forces" was passed at an Oct. 25 rally organized by a civic group for which the nationalist Japan Conference serves as secretariat.

The organization, Utsukushii Nippon no kenpo o tsukuru kokumin no kai (Citizen's group for the creation of a Constitution for beautiful Japan), passed the resolution in Tokyo after the Oct. 22 House of Representatives election in which pro-revision parties secured well over the two-thirds of the seats in the lower chamber. A two-thirds majority in both houses is necessary for the Diet to propose a constitutional amendment.

According to organizers, some 700 people attended the rally, including lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party).

"The LDP-Komeito ruling coalition secured two-thirds of the seats -- a miraculous result," said the LDP's Seiichi Eto, an aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "We have been given an opportunity (for constitutional revision) from the heavens."

LDP Chief Deputy Secretary-General Masahiko Shibayama added, "Now is the perfect opportunity," expressing enthusiasm for constitutional amendment in the near term. Lower house LDP lawmaker Keiji Furuya, who is also close to the prime minister, emphasized, "At last, the main battleground is the Commission on the Constitution in both Diet chambers."

A video of Prime Minister Abe expressing his aspirations to implement a revised Constitution in 2020 was played at a similar rally held by the group on May 3, Constitution Memorial Day.

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