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Constitutional revision front and center in Japan ruling party's 2020 policy draft

In this May 2019 file photo, the Liberal Democratic Party headquarters is seen in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. (Mainichi/Kazuhisa Soneda)

TOKYO -- Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has placed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's long-cherished goal to revise the country's Constitution front and center in the party's 2020 draft policy outline, it was learned on Feb. 18.

The LDP is set to propose its policies for this year during the party's annual convention currently scheduled for March 8. In the draft, policies related to constitutional amendment are given special treatment and featured as a separate topic, with the title, "Towards a Constitution befitting of a new age." It then says that the party will "commit to create an environment where a draft for a revised Constitution can be proposed to the Diet."

The draft as a whole has been given the title, "Nation-building for everyone to shine in the era of Reiwa," referring to the current Imperial era name. It has a preamble, stresses constitutional amendment and presents other policy measures.

On constitutional revision, the party writes, "We aspire to revise the Constitution to take responsibility for nation building for the future." It also claims that it "won strong support from the people who want us to advance (constitutional amendment) debate" in the July 2019 House of Councillors election, in which accelerating constitutional revision discussion was a central part of the LDP's platform.

In addition, the party urges commissions on the Constitution in both houses of the Diet to promptly hold discussions on the matter "beyond the frameworks of each party and parliamentary faction." It also notes that it plans to "work on broader consensus-building, such as seriously considering opinions and proposals suggested by other parties and factions."

(Japanese original by Nozomu Takeuchi, Political News Department)

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