A Liberal Democratic Party committee working on drafting a new Constitution decided Monday to have 10 subcommittees headed by former prime ministers and other key members draft reports by March on a new supreme law for the country.

Of the 10 subcommittees launched to handle the 10 principal chapters of the postwar Constitution, former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone heads one on the preamble, while former Prime Ministers Kiichi Miyazawa and Ryutaro Hashimoto will serve as head and deputy head of another on the emperor, former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori told reporters.

Mori is heading the committee.

A subcommittee on national security and contingencies, which would take the place of the Constitution’s chapter on “Renunciation of War,” is to be headed by former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda, Mori said.

In his opening address at Monday’s meeting, Mori told committee members and local LDP representatives that “instituting our own Constitution has been the theme of our party since its foundation.”

“The momentum for revision has risen in both the ruling and opposition camps in the Diet, and public interest has spread to an unprecedented extent. . . . We should not miss this chance,” he said.

Mikio Aoki, who heads the LDP’s House of Councilors caucus, asked members during his address “not to forget the House of Councilors,” alluding to a proposal to marginalize the Upper House that drew fire last year and caused the LDP to launch the committee so it could get a fresh start.

Earlier this month, the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) released a package of proposals for constitutional amendments that would allow Japan to exercise the right to collective defense and recognize the Self-Defense Forces.

With the package, the nation’s most powerful business lobby joined two other leading business lobbies — the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry — in calling for constitutional revision.

Nakasone, a longtime advocate of revising the Constitution, also released his own draft, which proposed formally declaring the emperor the head of state, giving greater powers to the prime minister, and enabling Japan to use military power.

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