Monday, July 11, 2016

”It is Corban, that is to say, a gift” - The 24th House of Councilors Election of Japan

Around the Government Office District, Tokyo

The 24th House of Councilors Election of Japan

The Japanese Upper House Election was over yesterday with a victory for Prime Minister Abe and his party the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

The Liberal Democratic Party is a kind of the US Republican Party, supported by conservative and rich people in addition to major enterprises.

The leading opposition party in Japan is the Democratic Party (DP) whose support base is labor unions like the US Democratic Party.

Till the 2008 Financial Crisis, the Japanese politics had been centered around LDP.  Most of prime ministers of Japan were from LDP.  But, in the wake of the 2008 Financial Crisis, a regime change occurred in Japan very drastically.  Then, from 2009 to 2012, coalition cabinets led by prime ministers from the Democratic Party (then called the Democratic Party of Japan [DPJ]) continued till by defeat by LDP led by Shinzo Abe in the general election in December 2012.  

After taking over power from DPJ in the election of 2012, Prime Minister Abe launched a new economic policy called Abenomics.  This policy boosted the Tokyo stock price index from 8,000 yen to 16,000 yen.  The yen got weak against the US dollar.  Major Japanese businesses marked record profits.  PM Abe won easily subsequent national elections.  Two thirds of the seats of the Lower House (with more political power than the Upper House)  are now occupied by the LDP and its ally the Komei Party (based on a Buddhist body) in addition to other parties in favor of Constitution amendment such as Osaka-Ishin. .

With the victory of the Upper House election whose voting day was yesterday, the LDP and its allied parties have come to occupy also 2/3 of the Upper House seats.  It means that PM Abe can take the initiative in amending the Japanese Constitution, since to pass a bill to change the Japanese Constitution requires support by two thirds of the seats in each house.  If it is passed, it will be judged by the Japanese people through a national referendum.  If 50% or more votes among all cast by the people support the amendment, this amendment of the Constitution will have legal effect.

So, now PM Abe who wants to abolish the anti-war Article 9 of the Constitution has a means to do so.

In this context, the 24th election of the House of Councilors (Upper House) that was concluded yesterday might be a historic one.

However, in any polls, the number of Japanese who are against amendment of the Constitution is larger than those who support amendment.  So, PM Abe will not be able to easily venture into political operation to amend the Japanese Pacifist Constitution that was enacted in 1947 when Japan was still under occupation of the US military in the wake of WWII.

Lower House (House of Representatives) of Japan
Total seats: 475
LDP: 290
Komeito: 35
Osaka-Ishin: 14
DP: 96

Upper House (House of Councillors) of Japan
Total seats: 242
LDP: 121
Komeito: 25
Osaka-Ishin: 12
Others in favor of Constitution amendment: 4
DP: 49

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Mar 7:10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
Mar 7:11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
Mar 7:12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;