« マンションのリフォームするのにお金が無い 心配いりません | トップページ | 薬効改竄逮捕 産学のもたれ合いも解明せよ »

2014年6月16日 (月)

改正国民投票法 新たな憲法の各論を深めたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun
All parties must promote debates with an eye to revising nation’s Constitution
改正国民投票法 新たな憲法の各論を深めたい

We applaud the fact that more than 90 percent of the members of the House of Representatives and House of Councillors supported a bill to revise the national referendum law, a show of wide support that will serve as an important basis for realizing constitutional revisions.

The bill has been passed into law with the approval of eight ruling and opposition parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito, the Democratic Party of Japan and Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party). The only parties that voted against it were the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party.

The revised law stipulates that the minimum voting age in national referendums on constitutional revisions will remain 20 for the time being but will be lowered to 18 four years after the law’s enforcement. It is significant that a legal framework for carrying out national referendums has been established.

When the national referendum law was established in May 2007 during the first Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, it was mainly supported by the LDP and Komeito but opposed by the DPJ.

In deliberations over the revised legislation, the ruling camp and the DPJ initially clashed over restrictions imposed on campaigning for a national referendum by public servants, but both sides eventually compromised to forge a suprapartisan agreement.

A high hurdle must be cleared before revising the Constitution: Amendments must be initiated by the Diet through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each house. Putting their own interests aside, all parties should strive to build a broad consensus.

Revision essential

The nation’s Constitution has not been revised since its establishment in 1946, which makes it a rare case in the world. It has become even more necessary to revise the basic law to enable it to deal adequately and swiftly with various important issues out of consideration for the drastic changes Japan has seen in its economy and society as well as in the international and security environments.

From now on, it is essential to discuss specifics in depth—which articles should be changed and how they should be amended. Major points of deliberations have already been presented during discussions by each chamber’s Commission on the Constitution.

Many parties have agreed on clarifying the status of the Self-Defense Forces, adding such new rights as environmental rights to the people’s rights and strengthening the prime minister’s authority in emergencies such as major earthquakes.

Relaxing the requirements to initiate constitutional amendment procedures in the Diet is an urgent task, while reviewing the roles of each chamber of the Diet stipulated in the top law is an important challenge. Further in-depth discussions are essential on issues that divide parties, such as the right to self-defense.

Parties also should decide on the advisability of lowering the minimum voting age in elections in line with the voting age for national referendums, a task assigned to them in an additional clause of the revised law.

The ruling and opposition parties have already agreed to set up a working group on the issue and concurred on the need to lower the minimum voting age in elections to 18 within two years. Naturally, it is desirable to make the minimum voting age in elections consistent with that in national referendums.

It is no easy task to lower the age of majority to 18 in the Civil Code as the change’s impact on various aspects of society will be huge. But the age of adulthood is 18 in most nations. There is no reason why Japan cannot revise it in line with the international standard.

It is essential for both ruling and opposition parties to steadily step up debates to bring about this change.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 15, 2014)


« マンションのリフォームするのにお金が無い 心配いりません | トップページ | 薬効改竄逮捕 産学のもたれ合いも解明せよ »





« マンションのリフォームするのにお金が無い 心配いりません | トップページ | 薬効改竄逮捕 産学のもたれ合いも解明せよ »