LDP launches panel to revise the Constitution

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party launched a new panel Tuesday to revise the Constitution, LDP Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe said.

The LDP, led by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, plans to compile a draft ahead of the party’s 50th anniversary in November, Takebe said.

The LDP’s House of Councilors members have criticized the party’s draft outline, compiled last month by a different panel, for seeking to strengthen the power of the House of Representatives.

Koizumi, who heads the task force, pledged at the team’s first meeting to revise the Constitution at any cost.

“We have entered the stage for creating a Constitution applicable to a new era, after collecting lots of opinions from the public,” Koizumi said.

Former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, who chairs a draft committee, was quoted by Takebe as telling the meeting, “Discussions for a revision have grown to maturity.’

Individual subcommittees will discuss topics such that include the Imperial system, national security and people’s rights and duties.

The draft committee will also be joined by former prime ministers, former party secretaries general, and chiefs of regional LDP chapters.

In November, the party’s Research Commission on the Constitution compiled the outline, which refers to the establishment of a “military force for self-defense” and stipulates the Emperor as head of state.

An intraparty debate was triggered when party lawmakers objected to banning compulsory military service, as stipulated in the draft outline.