Japanese lawmakers consider accelerating constitutional reform

Government and opposition lawmakers debated on Thursday whether to speed up discussions on proposed constitutional revisions in open talks by the House Constitution for the first time in about two years.

Free talks in the lower house panel discussion last held in November at 2017 followed a report at the opening of the panel meeting by member parliamentarians on their tour of four European countries that made constitutional amendments.

Liberal Democratic Party legislator Yoshitaka Shindo urged colleagues on both sides of the corridor to accelerate discussions on the issue, noting that many European countries have successfully altered their constitutions.

"I felt firsthand the importance of discussions about constitutional revisions that reflect the reality of our nation, based on changing social conditions," he said.

The opposition camp rejected Shindo's requests for swift negotiations. Ikuo Yamahana of Japan's main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party responded to the point that Germany revised its Basic Law, the equivalent of a constitution, 63 times, highlighting the differences between the German and Japanese legal systems.

“[The German Basic Law] stipulates the number of members of parliament and the terms of the members of the regional assembly, but in Japan, [changes to] these rules are handled through revisions of the law,” he said.

Soichiro Okuno, a member of the opposition People's Democratic Party, said: "The fact that Japan has not yet amended its constitution does not necessarily mean that the situation is extraordinary."

Kazuo Kitagawa of Komeito, PLD's junior coalition partner, also expressed reservations about hurried discussions.

"There is little meaning in just comparing the number of times the constitutions have been revised," he said.

Source: Asahi