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Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 15:30 - 16:30

Language: The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation

With surprising urgency, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed his Liberal Democratic Party to draw up a plan by the year's end for altering Japan's 70-year-old war-renouncing constitution. The move to provide an indisputable legal status to Japan's Self-Defense Forces has stirred the nation's widespread pacifist public sentiment already alarmed by his efforts to allow Japanese troops to fight abroad.

The directive, which seeks to install a new constitution in 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Olympics, has also irritated some of his fellow conservatives who have been preparing for years the revision of what they called the "US-imposed" post-war supreme law. In 2012, the LDP drafted its idea of an "independent" constitution that unequivocally justifies the right to defense and calls for creation of full-fledged "National Defense Forces."

Now long-ruling but scandal-hit Abe is proposing to tweak the constitution's Article 9, which bans the use of force in settling international disputes and the maintenance of "war potential," by adding a paragraph to emphasize the legitimacy of the defense forces. But his intraparty rival, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, criticizes the Abe initiative as incompatible with the original LDP draft.

The FCCJ has invited former Justice Minister Okiharu Yasuoka, who heads the LDP's panel on constitutional reform, to explain how he is steering the difficult task. The LDP needs the help of coalition partners to secure two-thirds of vote in both houses of parliament, a requirement for initiating a referendum on constitutional amendment. Known for his consensus-building approach, Yasuoka is seen likely to struggle in persuading the Buddhist-backed junior coalition party, Komeito, which is averse to changing the basic tenets of the pacifist constitution.

Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

Professional Activities Committee

Jun 21 17 PC Okiharu Yasuoka029

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