|Prime Minister Shinzo Abe|
Following his May 3 video message saying that he aims to have a new Constitution go into effect in 2020, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has explained that his objective was to propel debate about constitutional revision in the Diet as the president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Discussion on constitutional revision has had a tendency to stall due to opposing views among various political parties.
During intensive deliberations at a May 8 meeting of the House of Representatives budget committee, Abe explained, "I wanted to spur deliberations (on the Constitution) among political parties in the Diet." He also said, "I want to see active debate in the commissions on the Constitution of both chambers of the Diet."
In his video message, which was shown to participants of a gathering calling for the revision of the Constitution on May 3, Constitution Day -- which marked the 70th anniversary of the current Constitution's effectuation -- Abe stated that he wanted 2020 to be the year a new Constitution went into force. He specifically advocated for the revision of war-renouncing Article 9 by keeping the first and second paragraphs while adding a third provision explicitly referencing the Self-Defense Forces.
"The LDP has the responsibility of leading debate in the commissions on the Constitution of both the upper and lower houses," Abe stated at a meeting of the LDP Board following the lower house budget committee meeting on May 8. In issuing instructions to accelerate deliberations, he said, "The Board and party members must unite to take a historic step toward constitutional revision."
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