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Takashi Arimoto

【#844】4 Anti-Communist Parties Should Head for Amending Constitution

Takashi Arimoto / 2021.11.04 (Thu)

November 1, 2021

In Japan’s House of Representatives election on October 31, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), though losing seats, won “absolute stable majority” to stably manage the National Diet. The LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito, in combination with the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) and the Democratic Party for the People (DPP) that made clear in their campaign promises a direction to seek constitutional amendments. obtained far more than 310 seats required to propose the amendments for a national referendum. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, inaugurated not very long ago, should make utmost efforts to realize the amendments, as he promised in election campaigns.

CDP-JCP collaboration defeated

Toward the Lower House election, the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) and the biggest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) agreed on a “limited out-of-cabinet cooperation” to unify their candidates for many constituencies. But Prime Minister Kishida, up until the final stage of election campaigns, failed to refer to this problematic collaboration that could allow the JCP to join a coalition government for the first time in Japan’s political history. He should have taken initiative to focus on this serious problem. I would like to urge Kishida to reflect seriously on the failure. Nevertheless, the LDP performed well, winning two of Okinawa Prefecture’s four constituencies that it lost in the previous election four years ago and defeating CDP maneuverer Ichiro Ozawa who advocated CDP-JCP collaboration.

Among the opposition parties, the JIP that has distanced itself from opposition camp collaboration sharply increased the number of its seats to become the third largest party in the Lower House. The sluggish outcome of CDP-JCP collaboration might have demonstrated voters’ good sense.

The LDP, Komeito, JIP and DPP can be classified as anti-communists. The four parties now have a total of 345 Lower House seats exceeding a two-thirds majority required to propose constitutional amendments. In the Upper House, the four have 169 seats surpassing the two-thirds majority of 164.

In an Internet television program titled “Genron TV” hosted by Japan Institute for National Fundamentals President Yoshiko Sakurai on October 29, Prime Minister Kishida said of constitutional amendments: “In the past, we failed to make progress even though having won the two-thirds majority. Although election results will be important, we can increase supporters to reach the two-thirds majority while discussing specific amendments to the constitution.”

As noted by Kishida, constitutional amendments failed to be realized even when the LDP and Komeito commanded a two-thirds majority in both Diet chambers under the Shinzo Abe administration that demonstrated a strong willingness to achieve constitutional amendments. If the LDP gets help from the JIP and DPP, Komeito that in fact has not been very active in constitutional amendments may start reluctantly.

Cooperation with the JIP and DPP holds the key

In the Internet TV program, Kishida noted that he sponsored local policy research meetings when he served as the LDP Policy Research Council chairman. “Constitutional amendments had been viewed as terrifying,” he said. “But many people at such meetings found that constitutional amendments for the enhancement of education, the correction of vote-value gaps, the creation of an emergency clause and the clarification of the Self-Defense Forces in Article 9 would be understandable. Public opinion changes would exert influence on the Diet.” He also emphasized that the expansion of support for constitutional amendments in the Diet in parallel with the dialogue with citizens would lead to the amendments.

Kishida, who boasts of his skill of listening to others, should listen to the JIP and DPP, get their help for constitutional amendments and realize the amendments. Doing so is the prime minister’s mission.

Takashi Arimoto is publisher of Monthly Magazine SEIRON at the Sankei Shimbun newspaper.