• Kyodo

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More than 80 percent of the winning candidates in Sunday’s election approve of amending the Constitution, far exceeding the two-thirds majority required to propose a constitutional amendment for a national referendum, according to a Kyodo News survey.

The 389 supporters account for 84.9 percent of the 458 winners who responded to the questionnaire during the campaign, in which 475 Lower House seats were contested.

Following the victory by the ruling coalition led by the Liberal Democratic Party, Prime Minister and LDP President Shinzo Abe expressed his willingness at a news conference Monday to seek an amendment to the U.S.-drafted Constitution.

Of those who approve of the constitutional amendment, 59.6 percent said they want to see additional human rights provisions, 53.7 percent would like to ease requirements for proposing constitutional amendments, and 51.4 percent called for stronger authority for the prime minister in times of emergency.

Respondents were allowed to give multiple answers.

By party, 96.4 percent of the LDP respondents want to change the Constitution, as do 78.8 percent of the successful Komeito candidates. The rate is 97.5 percent in the conservative Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party).

In the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition group, 62.5 percent endorse constitutional change, with 31.9 percent opposing it.

All Japanese Communist Party respondents except one are opposed to any constitutional change, with the lone voice giving an invalid response.

The poll also shows that 69.4 percent of all respondents approve of the Abe Cabinet’s decision in July to reinterpret the Constitution so Japan can come to the rescue of allies under armed attack in collective self-defense.

Those endorsing the move accounted for 97.8 percent of the LDP respondents and 84.8 percent of the Komeito candidates. Opponents accounted for 72.5 percent of Ishin no To members, 91.7 percent of DPJ lawmakers and all JCP members.

Restarting nuclear power plants under new safety regulations adopted after the March 2011 Fukushima crisis drew endorsement from 65.9 percent of all respondents. Opponents accounted for 27.5 percent.

Those who gave a good assessment to Abe’s pro-growth policy known as “Abenomics” accounted for 70.3 percent of all respondents, while 29.5 percent rated it negatively.

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