Japan enacts revised national referendum law reflecting opposition party's changes

2021-06-11 09:05:28 GMT2021-06-11 17:05:28(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

TOKYO, June 11 (Xinhua) -- Japan's upper house of the parliament on Friday passed a bill revising the national referendum law following three years of negotiations between the pro-revision ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ).

The revision to the law will allow for polling stations to be set up in public places, although the passage of the bill through the lower house only came with the CDPJ's cooperation and reflects changes to the law required in return.

The approval of the bill initially came as a result of the pro-revisionist LDP accepting the CDPJ's insistence that the bill be modified with a clause added stating that restrictions must be placed on financing and media campaigns for a national referendum within three years after the revised law comes into effect.

Without the restrictions being added to the bill, the CDPJ argued that the LDP's deep-pockets for campaign funding would calculatingly influence voters' decisions.

The main opposition party's demands for the bill to be modified were met during a meeting in May between the secretary generals of the CDPJ and the LDP.

The ruling LDP has remained committed to trying to rewrite Japan's post-war, pacifist charter, which has remained unchanged since the supreme law came into effect.

For the ruling party to propose a revision to the constitution, a two-thirds majority is required in both chambers of Japan's bicameral parliament before a national referendum on the matter.

The opposition bloc, in contrast to the LDP, has been ardently opposed to revising the pacifist charter, particularly the war-renouncing Article 9 of the constitution.

The general public has also staunchly opposed any changes being made to Article 9 of the constitution, which has essentially guaranteed Japan peace and security since its defeat at the end of World War II.

Even if the ruling party were to manage to garner the two-thirds majority required in both houses of parliament necessary to call a referendum, they would be very likely to fail to secure a majority in a national vote due to a reluctant public, according to many Japanese scholars and political observers. Enditem