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LDP to seek multiparty project team to draft revised Constitution

Kyodo

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is considering launching a project team with opposition parties that are open to writing a revised Constitution in order to work out a draft, a party executive said Monday.

The project team is aimed at reaching a quick agreement aside from the commissions on the Constitution in both Diet chambers that include Japanese Communist Party members opposed to any change, the executive said.

The move, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s LDP aims to launch during the regular Diet session to convene later this month, may stir controversy even within the ruling coalition, however, as some are concerned it may disregard the parliamentary commissions.

In addition to its coalition partner Komeito, the LDP plans to call on the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party), Seikatsu no To (People’s Life Party), Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations) and Shinto Kaikaku (New Renaissance Party) to join the move.

The format derives from successful law revisions, including the national referendum law necessary for revising the Constitution, which cleared the Diet and took effect last June after talks among ruling and opposition parties that excluded the JCP.

With an eye to realizing the first-ever referendum in 2017, the LDP has come up with the idea of a project team in hopes of drafting a revised Constitution before the next Upper House election in 2016, according to the party executive.

But a Komeito executive has voiced concern such talks by parties without opponents would make the Diet commissions that are open to the public a mere facade.

The Lower House commission began discussions last November on clauses each party wants to be amended, but saw the parties still apart on specifics.

As for the DPJ, all three candidates in its leadership race to be voted on Sunday have voiced reluctance on revising the Constitution while Abe is in office.