Constitution day stirs debate over revision

NHK -- May 04
Monday marks the anniversary of Japan's Constitution coming into effect 74 years ago. To mark the occasion, some people around the country have been calling for the Constitution to be amended -- while others favor keeping it in its present form.

One group seeking to amend it live-streamed an online forum. Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide delivered a video message.

Suga said, "More than 70 years have passed since the current Constitution was enacted. Revisions should be made to parts that do not match the times, or that lack something necessary. As a first step to advancing discussions to amend the Constitution, we should aim to pass a revised law on national referendums."

The Liberal Democratic Party is drawing up draft revisions consisting of 4 points. They include formally recognizing the existence of the Self-Defense Forces.

Suga said both the ruling and opposition parties should hold constructive discussions to deepen the public's understanding.

Meanwhile, a group of citizens who want to keep the Constitution as it is also held an online forum.

The leader of the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party delivered a video message.

Edano Yukio said people should think about the importance of Article 25 on Constitutional Day. It stipulates that all people have the right to minimum standards of cultured and wholesome living.

Edano said this right has been undermined by the pandemic.

He said, "The government has to work to promote and extend social welfare and public health. But Japan's politics today have failed to fulfill this obligation. I'm resolute that restoring politics built on Article 25 is a major role my party should play amid the coronavirus crisis."

Deliberations on revising the law on national referendums are underway in the Diet's Lower House Commission on the Constitution.