The secretaries general of five political parties agreed Monday to request creation of a research panel to review the Constitution.

The Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Democratic Party of Japan, New Komeito and Kaikaku Club will make the request to Lower House Steering Committee Chairman Hidenao Nakagawa as early as today, LDP Secretary General Yoshiro Mori said.

The agreement is based on last week’s consensus within the suprapartisan group of the five parties’ lawmakers to call for establishment of the panel, which would not have legal authority to propose bills to the Diet.

“(By establishing this panel,) we agreed to discuss the Constitution from various points of view to study whether it suits the needs of the times,” said DPJ Secretary General Tsutomu Hata. He stressed that the aim of the panel is research and wide-ranging discussions on the issue.

At Monday’s meeting, the Japanese Communist Party opposed creation of the panel, saying it could pave the way toward amendment of the Constitution.

The Social Democratic Party, which also opposes the move, did not join the group’s meeting, saying it had not participated in its discussions since the group’s formation in May 1997.

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