LDP shelves plan for Constitutional debate group

A nonpartisan Diet group’s long-withheld discussions on the Constitution failed to start June 2 when leaders in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party demanded that the effort be shelved for at least a few months.

The group, headed by Taro Nakayama, a Lower House member of the LDP and former foreign minister, was set up late May to submit a bill to the Diet to create a regular committee within the legislature to discuss the Constitution. However, LDP leaders were worried the group’s activities might affect the party’s relations with the Social Democratic Party, which has long opposed reviewing the Constitution.

The nonpartisan group is made up of lawmakers of five non-Communist parties, except for the SDP. LDP policy chief Taku Yamasaki asked Nakayama during a meeting of LDP executives June 2 not to submit the bill because a formal organization within the LDP is currently preparing to conduct a public survey on the issue, LDP Secretary General Koichi Kato told reporters later in the day.