Politicians are split almost evenly on revising the Constitution, according to a survey on six controversial issues that was released Tuesday.
The survey, conducted by a group of journalists, novelists and commentators, showed that 42.3 percent of Diet members and candidates expected to run in the next general election believe that the Constitution, including war-renouncing Article 9, should be reviewed, while 41.7 percent said it should not.
The group, headed by well-known journalist Soichiro Tawara, asked politicians to present their positions on six issues, including the Constitution, the environment, and plebiscites.
Of some 1,500 Diet members and potential candidates surveyed, 1,063, or 73.2 percent, responded, the group said.
On ways to reduce the nation’s 645 trillion yen debt, 86.1 percent of the respondents said the state should reduce public works spending, while others said expenses for public servants and defense should be cut, the group said.
Regarding plebiscites, members of opposition groups said local governments should better reflect plebiscite results in the policymaking process. However, most members of the ruling bloc — the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party — said plebiscites should be regarded as a mere reference point for drafting policy, it said.
The group will publish a booklet at the end of the month and advertise in major newspapers to publicize the results, which will also be available on the group’s home page at http://www.seijika-hyoutei.com/ “Our aim is not to grade politicians,” Tawara said. “We just wanted to provide information to the voters on what policies each politicians have.”
Yoshimi Ishikawa, a nonfiction writer, said he hopes voters will first ask how they would respond to each question themselves before going to the polls.
“Voters should also think hard (on what policies they support),” he said.
The general election is scheduled to be held on June 25.