The secretaries general of five political parties asked the Lower House on Tuesday to create a research panel to review the Constitution.

The Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Democratic Party of Japan, New Komeito and Kaikaku Club made the request to Lower House Steering Committee Chairman Hidenao Nakagawa in accordance with the agreement the secretaries general reached Monday.

The agreement is based on last week’s consensus within the suprapartisan group of the five parties’ lawmakers to call for the panel, which would not have legal authority to propose bills to the Diet. “We have agreed to discuss (at the panel) the Constitution from various points of view to study whether it suits the needs of the times,” DPJ Secretary General Tsutomu Hata said during a news conference after the agreement Monday.

During the discussion within the suprapartisan group, LDP and Liberal Party members called for creation of a standing Diet committee to review the 51-year-old Constitution, while the three other parties insisted on a less powerful research panel that does not have authority to propose bills.

The Japanese Communist Party opposed creation of the panel during the Monday meeting, saying it could pave the way toward amendment of the Constitution. The Social Democratic Party, which also opposes the move, did not join the meeting, saying it had not participated in the discussions since the group’s formation in May 1997.

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