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Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a recent interview that “the atmosphere has become ripe” for carrying out constitutional reform in Japan — a long-sought goal of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Abe’s remarks referred to the fact that parties advocating constitutional reform — namely the LDP-led ruling coalition, as well as the Democratic Party for the People and Nippon Ishin no Kai in the opposition camp — all increased their seats in the Oct. 31 Lower House election.

In 2017, during his time as prime minister, Abe set a goal of revising the Constitution and bringing the amended top law into effect in 2020, in a video message sent to a gathering of supporters of the push for reform.

Abe said he set such a goal with the aim of creating a momentum for revision. Looking ahead, he said related debates should be left to the commissions on the Constitution in both chambers of parliament.

On Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration, Abe said the ruling parties’ major victory in the Lower House election formed the basis for a stable government.

“From now on, the government’s ability to get things done will be put to the test,” he added.

Abe also denied the possibility of returning to the post of prime minister.

“It’s my responsibility to support the Kishida administration,” he said.

Meanwhile, the former prime minister said he believes LDP Secretary-General Toshimitsu Motegi would be one likely candidate to succeed Kishida.

Also in the interview, conducted on Wednesday, Abe commented on the situation surrounding Taiwan. Stressing the need to be aware that the situation is already tense, he said, “It’s important for Japan to strengthen cooperation with the international community.”

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