Abe Pledges to Rewrite Pacifist Constitution

Abe Pledges to Rewrite Pacifist ConstitutionAbe Pledges to Rewrite Pacifist Constitution

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he would work to convince voters of the need to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution the day after scoring a thumping election victory.

The premier, who was re-elected by a landslide in Sunday’s polls, at his first news conference since the vote pledged to pursue his nationalist agenda while promising to follow through on much-needed economic reforms, the AFP reported.

“We must go ahead with Abenomics swiftly, this is exactly what has been shown in the vote. We have to respond that,” Abe said, referring to his controversial three-pronged economic strategy.

Abe’s victory takes him a step closer to reviving his controversial plan to rewrite Japan’s pacifist constitution, a move that has proved divisive at home and strained already tense relations with China.

His ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner Komeito swept the ballot on Sunday with a two-thirds majority in the lower house of parliament.

The coalition won a combined 326 of the 475 seats, crushing the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

Abe, 60, is expected to reappoint a broadly similar cabinet after he is formally named prime minister again by the lower house on December 24.

Asked by reporters about his priorities for the coming four-year parliament, Abe said he would work to “instil patriotism in schoolchildren” and “offer a more sympathetic retelling of Japan’s wartime misdeeds”.

“As for revising the constitution, it has constantly been an objective since the LDP was launched,” he said, referring to a clause in the US-imposed document that bans Japan from aggressive military action.

A revision, which he abandoned earlier this year in the face of public opposition, requires a two-thirds parliamentary approval, as well as a simple majority in a referendum.

  Opposition Leader Resigns

Meanwhile, the leader of Japan’s largest opposition party stepped down Monday after losing his seat in a weekend election drubbing.

Banri Kaieda, who led the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to its third consecutive thrashing at the polls, was among the casualties on a dreary night for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s main opponents.

“During an across-the-nation campaign trail I heard voices of people who said ‘please stop the Abe government’... but our tally of seats is not enough,” he said.

The DPJ, elected in 2009 on a wave of optimism after more than half a century of almost unbroken rule by the LDP, governed haphazardly until 2012 under three weak prime ministers.