National / Politics

LDP open to ideas on Constitution from other parties, says head of revision panel Hiroyuki Hosoda

JIJI

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will respond flexibly to constitutional revision proposals from other parties, the LDP’s leader on the matter said.

Hiroyuki Hosoda, who made a comeback as head of the LDP Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision of the Constitution last month, mentioned the need for “positive discussions” involving Komeito, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, and some opposition parties.

“If revisions (to the amendment draft) or new proposals are put forward, we’ll consider them in our party,” Hosoda said in an interview last Friday.

Hosoda was in the same post when the LDP wrote in March 2018 a four-point amendment draft that included an addition to war-renouncing Article 9 to define the Self-Defense Forces.

His reappointment came as the party, under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s leadership, is eager to advance debate on constitutional revision when the extraordinary Diet session opens on Friday.

“We should finally and actually deepen constitutional amendment talks,” Hosoda said.

“The situation changed a little after the House of Councilors election,” he said. “As the LDP-Komeito coalition is short of a two-thirds majority in the Upper House, opposition parties may find it easier to have discussions.

“It’s good to have talks to identify issues, isn’t it?” said the LDP heavyweight, who leads the party faction Abe belonged to before becoming prime minister.

Hosoda is expected to work first on securing backing from Komeito, which is cautious on revising Article 9. He has strong ties with Komeito counterpart Kazuo Kitagawa.

As for Abe’s goal of activating a revised Constitution in 2020, Hosoda said there is not necessarily a clear prospect of achieving that now.

Asked whether the LDP will stick to its amendment goal, he said, “It’s inappropriate to specify by when we will finish it, as we are calling on other parties to have talks.”

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