National / Politics

Poll shows 56% of Japanese oppose amending Constitution under Abe government

Kyodo

More than half of people in Japan oppose amending the nation’s postwar pacifist Constitution under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, a Kyodo news survey conducted after the Upper House election showed Tuesday.

In the two-day telephone survey, held from Monday, 56.0 percent opposed Abe’s drive for constitutional revision, while 32.2 expressed support.

The failure of pro-amendment forces in the election to retain a two-thirds majority in the upper chamber, which is required to initiate constitutional revision, was viewed positively by 29.8 percent and negatively by 12.2 percent.

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party has proposed a plan for constitutional revision that centers on clarifying the legal status of the Self-Defense Forces in the war-renouncing Article 9 of the supreme law.

Changing the Constitution requires two-thirds majorities in both chambers of the Diet and a simple majority in a national referendum.

The ruling coalition controls a two-thirds majority in the more powerful Lower House, but the outcome of Sunday’s House of Councilors election means that it will now have to look for support among the opposition camp.

The support rate for Abe’s Cabinet stood at 48.6 percent, up from 47.6 percent in June, while the disapproval rate was 38.2 percent.

The survey showed that 52.6 percent were opposed to Abe serving a fourth consecutive three-year term as LDP chief, which would require changing the party’s current limit of three terms, while 40.6 percent were supportive.

Abe is set to become the longest-serving Japanese prime minister in November.

Regarding the government’s plan to raise the consumption tax to 10 percent in October from the current 8 percent, 55.9 percent opposed the plan, while 39.8 percent expressed support.

The survey covered 736 randomly selected households with eligible voters as well as 1,263 contacted via mobile phone.

Responses were obtained from 516 and 513 people, respectively.