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Cover Stories Series 2013> Japan Consolidates Leadership> News
UPDATED: July 21, 2013
Constitutional Change Advocates Unlikely to Secure Majority: Poll

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the two other parties which support easing the rules for constitutional amendments are unlikely to secure the two-thirds majority in the upper house required to change the rules, Kyodo News exit polls showed following the election.

The LDP, the Japan Restoration Party and Your Party, which support amending Article 96 of the Constitution, need to win a total of 100 of the 121 seats in Sunday's election to control a two-thirds majority in the 242-seat upper house. The three parties currently control more than two-thirds of the seats in the lower house, according to Kyodo News Agency.

The Article 96 stipulates that any initiative to revise the Constitution must be supported by at least two-thirds of each chamber of the Diet before it can be put to a national referendum.

The LDP led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to amend the post-World War II pacifist Constitution. The Party has proposed designating the emperor as the head of state instead of the symbol of the state as in the current Constitution, clearly stating that Japan can exercise the right to collective self-defense and defining the Self-Defense Forces as defense forces.

Abe wants to change Article 96 first so that revisions can be put to a referendum following majority votes in both houses of parliament rather than two-thirds as now.

But local media said it would still be possible for the parties to control two-thirds of the chamber if the seats won by the New Komeito party are counted. New Komeito is LDP's junior coalition partner, but it remains cautious about lowering the legislative hurdle for amending the Constitution.

(Xinhua News Agency July 21, 2013)

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