Fumio Kishida_Prime Minister of Japan_ 28_02_2022

Parliamentary elections in Japan.- LDP modestly increases seats in Japan’s House of Councillors after Abe’s magnicide and heads to Japan’s Constitutional Law revision

Two days after the magnicide of Shinzo Abe, former Prime Minister and once leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. The currently ruling LPD modestly increased its seats in the House of Councillors, the upper house of the 710-member bicameral Japanese Diet.
This means that together with its coalition partner Komeito re-gained the supermajority it lost in the 2019 election. The outcome slightly increased compared to the previous election.

Current Prime Minister, who condemned the killing of his mentor Shinzo Abe, said as well that he will focus on efforts to formulate drafts that can be put to a national referendum, following broadcaster NHK reports.
Kishida also advanced that he would seek to deepen parliamentary debates on the constitution and gain the public’s understanding, always following NHK reports.

Last 10th July a new record was set. Women elected to the chamber reached the 28%.

Will Japanese voters support the amendment of the Japanese Constitution?

LDP-Komeito coalition, supports a constitutional revision including a change in the pacifist clause on Article 9 of the Japanese Ground Law, gained a combined total of 93 seats, thus maintaining the two-thirds majority needed to trigger the parliamentary procedure.

Perhaps this is enough at the House of Councillors stage but a change to the Constitution must be approved by two-thirds of both houses of parliament, as well as by a majority of voters in a national referendum. Opinion polls have been evidencing that people in Japan is deeply divided on this point, with a large number of voters remaining undecided.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Japanese public sentiment seems to have shifted in favor of a more robust defense policy, but still not for the ammendment of Article 9 (war renounce).

Latest nation wide poll carried out by the Japanese journal Asahi Shimbun, showed a never before reached record of 56% voters backing changes to the Japanese Ground Law. The poll was published precisely on The Constitution Memorial Day. The same poll also showed that still a 37% of respondents said there was no need to change Japan’s Constitutional Law.

Meanwhile, on the ammendment of Article 9 (war renounce) issue, 59% of respondents said there was no need to revise it while 33% felt that the article should be reformed.

Taking into account latest developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the Asahi survey asked respondents if their concerns on a military conflict have increased, the 80% of the people surveyed felt more woried against a 19% that felt sameworried than before Russia’s attack.

Anyway, despite Abe’s Government reiterpretation of the constitutional war renounce widening the concept of self defence, this point of Article 9 amendment seems not to be the top priority in Japanese people’s minds.

Other issues are considered more important, like the reform of the Constitutional law in the field related to education; the amendments allowing the Prime Minister to declare a state of emergency and the Cabinet to order a temporary restriction on the rights of the public to deal with a major natural disaster or military invasion; or the point of allowing the Government doing everything to control new infections (COVID-19 related or not) even if that meant restricting individual rights.

Among top worries for the Government and for japanese citizens, it is the inflation problem, given that the Japanese economy’s tendency to stagflation.

No political reasons in Abe’s magnicide

Abe was shot and killed last Friday at a campaign event in Nara (Japan) in support of one of LPD’s candidates to the House of Councillors .
Security officials at the meeting grasped the 41-year-old gunman who used a hand-made weapon to carry out the shooting.

Shinzo_Abe_former PM of Japan_1600 pix
Shinzo Abe (at the time of taking this pick, PM of Japan), at hte meeting with Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence the Kantei, in Tokyo, Aug. 18, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro). To watch the original photo and the terms of the lisense, click here

The Japanese police arrested the man who is emerging as the main suspect of having committed the attack. Religious reasons (unrelated to the defense of constitutional reform or Abe’s political ideas) have been alleged by the gunman as ground for the magnicide.

Abe resigned in 2020, by health problems but continued since then pushing for Japan’s adoption of a tougher defense approach.
He was a prominent supporter of the reform of Japan’s Constitution, which has not been amended since it had entered into force in 1947.

This afternoon the Chief PM Cabinet Secretary announced that Kishisda’s Government decided to award a decoration to Shinzo Abe recognising his achievements. He made clear that same if the shooting was rooted in political reasons or not the Abe’s killing keeps on being an “attack on the foundation of democracy” asPrime Minister Kishida said last 9th June.

Having hold the PM responsibility for 8 years, Abe has been the longest-serving leader of modern Japan till today.

Image over the headline.- Prime Minister of Japan Fumio Kishida at the press conference held on 25 February 2022.© Cabinet Public Affairs Office of Japan

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Related external links:

Chief Cabinet Secretary conference comments the electoral outcomes and answers questions of the press

Chief Cabinet Secretary conference comments on Abe’s killing and answers questions of the press

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