Members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are less and less eager to change the country’s constitution, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga seems less serious about the goal than his predecessor.
During his tenure, Suga’s predecessor Shinzo Abe repeatedly pushed ruling and opposition lawmakers to promote discussions on constitutional amendments.
But Suga brought up the problem less frequently. At an annual LDP convention in March, he did not discuss the issue in detail and only said the party would focus on revising the national referendum law first to pave the way for constitutional amendments. .
Suga’s cautious approach met with frustration from some PLD members. “The prime minister should declare that he will promote discussions on constitutional amendments,” said a senior official at the headquarters of the party responsible for promoting the revision of the constitution.
“The voters want it. If it remains ambiguous, the next election to the House of Representatives will be threatened, ”said the deputy, referring to the general elections to be held by the fall.
“The prime minister does not have the kind of enthusiasm that Abe had,” said another high-profile member of the panel.
But even supporters of constitutional amendments are starting to signal a change in position. “We need to focus on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic in the next semester,” a former cabinet minister said, adding that a push for constitutional amendments would trigger a massive backlash.
On the proposal to revise the national referendum law, however, talks between ruling and opposition lawmakers are progressing.
At the end of last month, the main opposition party, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said it would allow a bill revising the law to be put to a vote in a lower house panel if the LDP accepted his proposed changes.
The CDP had opposed a vote on the bill, but now apparently believes a flexible approach will help the party appeal to Tory voters in the general election, sources familiar with the situation have said.
In addition, the CDP believes that such a concession could block efforts to promote discussions on the constitutional amendments themselves, the sources said.
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