Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Dilemma for Abe if Constitution wins Peace Prize

By Cai Hong (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-19 06:52

But to keep their country's "Peace Constitution" intact, Hamaji and his like-minded people have a tough job ahead. People in Abe's camp are speeding up their attempts to introduce a new Constitution. The Asashi Shimbun reported that 19 out of 43 prefectural assemblies have passed statements asking Japan's parliament to revise the Constitution.

Japan Conference, one of the country's conservative groups and close to Abe, stands behind these petitions. It is expected to use these papers, though not legally binding, as the barometer of local residents' opinion to push the Abe Cabinet and parliament to rewrite the Constitution.

The proposal for a new Constitution needs consent from at least two-thirds of lawmakers in the two chambers of the Japanese parliament and must be endorsed by a majority of voters in a national referendum. The ruling coalition - the LDP and the new Komeito - control comfortable majorities in the two chambers. So the referendum would be the real test.

Japan's parliament revised the referendum law in June, lowering the minimum voting age from 20 to 18.

With 47 prefectural and some 230 municipal chapters working throughout the country, Japan Conference is expected to lobby more local assemblies for petitions asking for the Constitution to be reformed.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner is to be announced in October.

If Japan's Constitution is the winner, it will place Abe in a dilemma: If he goes to Oslo, he will not be able to tamper with the constitution. If he doesn't go, he will show the world his true colors.

The author is China Daily's Tokyo bureau chief.

(China Daily 08/19/2014 page8)

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