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LDP bigwig Ibuki urges caution on Constitution

In this Oct. 22, 2017 file photo, Bunmei Ibuki, left, accepts a bouquet to congratulate him on his re-election to the House of Representatives, in Kyoto's Nakagyo Ward. (Mainichi)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will bear responsibility should his desired constitutional revisions be voted down in a national referendum, ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker and former Speaker of the House of Representatives Bunmei Ibuki said on Feb. 22.

"Realistically, responsibility (for a referendum failure) would lie with the president of the largest ruling party," Ibuki told a Feb. 22 meeting of the LDP's Nikai faction, of which he is a member. He also touched on the possibility that a referendum loss would lead to Abe's resignation as prime minister, and urged caution in constitutional revision discussions.

Regarding two main proposals to inscribe the existence of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) in the Constitution's Article 9 -- one to add a paragraph, and the other to completely replace the article's second paragraph renouncing "war potential" -- Ibuki said, "Legally, it would be correct to erase the second paragraph." He added, however, that "though this may be legally correct, it is mostly incorrect from the perspective of human society," calling on the party to rally around preserving Article 9's existing second paragraph.

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