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Ex-PM Koizumi sees Article 9 revision difficult without cooperation from opposition

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi speaks during a news conference held by a civic group to announce the anti-nuclear power, renewable energy promotion bill in Tokyo on Jan. 10, 2018. (Mainichi)

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed his view that revising war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution is difficult to achieve under the current state of affairs as the matter requires cooperation from opposition parties, in an interview with the Mainichi Shimbun on Jan. 17.

Asked about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ambition to make changes to the war-renouncing article by 2020, Koizumi said, "Amendments to Article 9 require an environment where a two-thirds majority (of members in both houses of the Diet) would naturally agree to the revisions after discussions with the opposition. It would not happen if forced." He then added that at the moment Prime Minister Abe and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) do not have the momentum to have opposition forces involved in the discussion.

In responding to questions regarding Abe's potential candidacy for his third term as LDP president, Koizumi says he does not know anything yet, stating that even Abe is saying himself that he will decide whether to run in the party leadership election scheduled in September this year at the last minute.

"When it comes to elections, you can't tell anything beforehand. I lost in the (LDP) leadership race twice and was told I wouldn't succeed in my third challenge, but I did," Koizumi said.

Meanwhile, the former prime minister also talked about the bill that he has proposed to end the use of nuclear power in Japan. Koizumi said in the interview that while he knows anti-nuclear power bills filed by Diet lawmakers will "not pass due to opposition from the LDP," if the subject is debated at the Diet, it will become clear that "what has been claimed by the pro-nuclear power camp about safety and cost efficiency (of nuclear energy) is a lie." He continued, "If the people's deep-rooted opposition to nuclear power could be further evoked, the subject could become a key issue in the next House of Councillors election (in 2019). And in such a case, the LDP would not be able to just sit around and do nothing about it," suggesting his plan to spark a national movement against nuclear power to time with the upper house race.

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