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Friday, May 4, 2007

Nakasone: Constitution defective, preamble needs 'love of nation' clause


Staff writer

A nonpartisan group of politicians headed by former Prime Minister Nakasone marked the 60th anniversary of the Constitution with a meeting on Thursday to tell the public why Japan needs a new charter.

The conservative group of former Diet lawmakers and 190 elected politicians also presented their proposed changes to the Constitution's preamble. The group's new preamble says "the Emperor is the symbol of the unified public" and Japan shall "protect its independence through the solidarity of the public who love the nation."

The "love of nation" clause, which is not in the current preamble, is something the ruling Liberal Democratic Party wants to put into the Constitution. Since the LDP's founding in 1955, the party has made changing the Constitution one of its goals.

Nakasone said the preamble must express the state of the nation as a whole and must be written in Japanese.

Calling the current preamble "a sloppy translation" of English into Japanese, Nakasone said the Constitution, imposed by the Allied Occupation, has "serious defects" that must be corrected.

Constitutional amendments must be passed with a majority of two-thirds in the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors. Then there must be a national referendum.

There is no law outlining procedures for a referendum. However, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to change the Constitution, there is now a bill in the Upper House to establish the process and it is expected to be passed by the end of the Diet session in June.

Nakasone told the group that to get two-thirds of the vote in both houses to amend the Constitution, the Democratic Party of Japan — the top opposition force — will have to cooperate. This, he said, could trigger "political realignment" along conservative and liberal lines.



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The Japan Times

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