Monday, April 16, 2007

Friction in the coalition?

The Mainichi Shimbun reports in a brief article that the New Komeito Party, the LDP's coalition partner, wants to maintain clauses one and two of Article 9 and does not seek the ability to exercise the right of collective self-defense.

Surely a disagreement within the LDP-Komeito coalition on constitution revision and the related question of collective self-defense is not insignificant, given the priority Prime Minister Abe has given these issues. Since the LDP does not hold the necesssary two-thirds majority in either house that it would need to pass constitution revisions, Komeito's support may be the deciding factor in whether and how the Abe Cabinet decides to push forward on constitution revision. I suspect that opposition from Komeito -- the political affiliate of the Buddhist Soka Gakkai organization, which believes in a kind of conservative pacifism -- might temper the ultimate shape of a revised constitution, if revisions manage to take shape under the Abe Cabinet.

Perhaps the prospect of all of Japan's political parties uniting against Abe's government would be enough stop his efforts -- or at least make the government substantially more deferential to the wishes of the Japanese public and opinions from across spectrum of the Japanese political system.

Yet another reason for observers not to overreact to steps being taken towards constitution revision.

1 comment:

Simon said...

It will not be the first friction between Komeito and the LDP; I am told that it was Komeito which insisted on JSDF 'humanitarian' participation in the Coalition occupation of Iraq - operations such as water purification and not combat.
Also, of course (sharing a history of opposition to Shinto obsrevances with Soka Gakkai), Komeito vigorously opposes vists to the Yasukni shrine but failed to stop Koizumi making his annual pilgrimages which so angered Korea and China.
Following Chinese Premier Wen's visit to Japan last week (when Wen also met with Soka Gakkai's honoray president Ikeda http://www.sgi.org/about/president/works/news/070412ch_primeminister.html), Abe will be slapping Wen in the face if he vists the Yasukuni shrine on the occasion of (this week's?) April annual Spring Grand Festival, as Kozumi did.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of the issue, realpolitik should prevail now.