Toshimitsu Motegi, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, signaled the party's intention on Thursday to promote discussions on constitutional amendments in the related panels of parliament.
"The time is ripe" for constitutional reform, Motegi said in an interview, showing the party's determination to pave the way for the Diet, the formal name of Japan's parliament, to propose constitutional revisions and conduct a national referendum on the issue.
"It's true that the number of political parties, forces and lawmakers in favor of revising the Constitution has increased" as a result of the Oct. 31 election for the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, Motegi said.
Lawmakers backing constitutional amendments now account for more than two-thirds of the seats in the Lower House as well as the House of Councillors, the upper chamber. Any proposal to change the supreme charter must be approved by at least two-thirds of members in each of the two Diet chambers before it is put to a national referendum.
Motegi said that the public awareness of emergencies is increasing due to the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that the focal point will be revising the Constitution to add a clause to give the government greater authority in the event of emergencies.
He said he wants the Diet to have discussions to select priority issues from among proposals to be put forward by political parties.
Motegi revealed that the LDP will revamp its Headquarters for the Promotion of Revision of the Constitution into a headquarters for the realization of constitutional revision. The new name reflects the LDP's stronger commitment to constitutional reform, he said, noting that the party's platform includes the realization of constitutional reform.
Also in the interview, Motegi suggested that he intends to run for the presidency of the LDP in the future, expressing his eagerness to succeed Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
While stressing that he will do his best to support the Kishida administration as LDP secretary-general, Motegi said, "I must meet the expectations of my factional colleagues and supporters at some point."
He outlined the LDP's plan to accelerate its preparations for the triennial Upper House election next summer.
The LDP hopes to maintain its momentum in the electoral districts where the party won seats in the Lower House election, while stepping up rebuilding efforts in the regions where it failed to do so, Motegi said. He declined to clarify a target number of seats for the Upper House election.
Motegi also said the LDP will hold the first meeting as early as next week of its party reform implementation headquarters headed by him.
Citing such challenges as limiting the terms of office for party executives, Motegi said, "I want to consider making rules as a modern political party."
He also said the LDP aims to hold online dialogue meetings with the public to reflect people's voices in its policy measures.
Regarding demands that the eligibility for child allowance should be assessed by total household income instead of the income of the head of the household, Motegi said that such an option is possible in future discussions.
"It's not necessarily an issue of incomes alone," he said. "The amounts of financial assets also matter, as well as whether you own your home or live in a rented home."
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