Abe reiterates commitment to pushing forward constitutional revision despite staunch criticism from opposition, public

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/1/5 7:39:49

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday reiterated his commitment to revising Japan's war-renouncing Constitution though refraining from setting out a time schedule.

Speaking at a New Year press conference in Mie Prefecture, central Japan, after visiting the Ise Grand Shrine, Abe said that he hopes the year 2018 will bring progress in the debate toward a first-ever revision to the postwar Constitution.

"I want to make this a year in which we present to the public the shape the Constitution should take."

But he did not specify the timeline for the process, saying that discussions should first be held within each political party and then in both houses of the parliament.

Revising the Constitution has long been a goal of Abe and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). The LDP has been advocating constitutional revision as part of its platform since the party was founded in the 1950s.

Earlier media reports said that the LDP eyes crafting its amendment proposals and presenting them during the ordinary Diet session to be convened in January.

The plan has drawn staunch criticism from opposition parties as well as from the public for "opening the way for unlimited use of force."

Abe on Thursday also vowed to strengthen Japan's defense capabilities in face of "the threats caused by the nuclear and missile programs" of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

He also pledged to carry on the reforms he promised last year.

As for whether he will run for a third term as LDP president, he said he will focus on the ordinary Diet session to be convened later this month and think of whether to run for reelection after that.

Abe's current term as LDP president will expire in September, and a third term as LDP president will see Abe lead the party until 2021 and make him the longest serving prime minister in postwar Japan.

Posted in: ASIA-PACIFIC

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