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41% of election winners in Japan oppose amending anti-war Article 9: Mainichi survey

This file photo shows the National Diet Building in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward on May 1, 2019. (Mainichi/Masahiro Kawata)

TOKYO -- More than 40% of successful candidates in the July 21 House of Councillors election who responded to a Mainichi Shimbun survey say they are opposed to changing war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution, it has been learned.

According to post-election re-tallying of the survey on July 22, 48 of 117 victorious candidates who had earlier responded to a Mainichi Shimbun questionnaire were against revising Article 9, forming the largest group at 41%. The 117 respondents are among 350 candidates who had answered the questionnaire, and account for 94.4% of all 124 candidates who won in the election.

Among the victorious respondents who ran on the ticket of Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), 10 out of 13 candidates, or 77%, said they are against amending Article 9.

Of the 52 successful LDP candidates who responded to the survey, 17, or 33%, said Article 9 should be revised to clearly stipulate the existence of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF). Thirty-one of the 52 respondents, at 60%, opted for the answer stating "other," with one writing, "On condition that the current Article 9 is retained."

The results once again indicate that there is a divide between the LDP and Komeito candidates over their views toward changing Article 9, which bans Japan from waging war and possessing any war potential.

Only one out of six Democratic Party for the People (DPFP) respondents who emerged victorious in the election was against revisions to Article 9, while one said the SDF should be stipulated in the clause and four others either gave no response or opted for "other." When asked about constitutional amendment at large, one of the six DPFP respondents said they were for the move, another one was against it and four others either gave no response or opted for "other."

Overall, 70 of the 117 triumphant candidates responding to the survey, at 60%, said they are in favor of constitutional revision at large. Of those fielded by the conservative opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party), the LDP and Komeito, 10 (100%), 51 (98%) and 8 (62%) candidates supported amending the Constitution, respectively. Meanwhile, of those put up by Komeito, the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, candidates who opposed constitutional reform numbered one (8%), 16 (94%), seven (100%) and one (100%), respectively.

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