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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a TV interview at his party headquarters, Tokyo, July 10, 2016 (AP photo by Shizuo Kambayashi).

Even With Legislative Control, Abe Faces Hurdles to Amend Japan’s Constitution

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Earlier this month, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) marched to an unsurprising, if not significant, election victory in the upper house of Japan’s parliament, the Diet. The LDP and its coalition partner, the Komeito Party, scored 70 of the House of Councilors’ 121 contested seats and now control a combined 146 of its 242 seats overall. Their victory, coupled with the LDP-Komeito coalition’s significant majority in the Diet’s lower house, ensures that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have firm legislative control at least until the fall of 2018, when his term as president of the LDP is set to expire.

That has significant implications for Abe’s controversial economic policies, known as “Abenomics,” and his contentious plans to revise Japan’s pacifist constitution. But with the vote representing more of an acceptance of the status quo than a ringing endorsement of Abe’s program, he still faces plenty of resistance going forward. ...

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