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ANALYSIS: Election Results to Affect Abe's Strategy for Constitution Reform

ANALYSIS: Election Results to Affect Abe's Strategy for Constitution Reform

   Tokyo, July 18 (Jiji Press)--The House of Councillors election on Sunday will be a major hurdle for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's longstanding goal of rewriting Japan's postwar constitution as it remains unclear whether the constitutional reformist camp will be able to maintain its current two-thirds majority in the Upper House.
   In the triennial election, 124 Upper House seats will be up for grabs while the 121 other seats will not be contested.
   Of the uncontested seats, 79 are held by the reformist camp--56 by members of Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, 14 by members of Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, six by members of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) and three by independents.
   The camp therefore needs to win at least 85 of the seats up for grabs to form a two-thirds majority following the poll. Such a majority in both chambers of the Diet, Japan's parliament, is necessary to put constitutional amendments to a national referendum.
   "The question is whether you choose parties that discuss constitutional revision or those refusing even to hold discussions," Abe stressed in a campaign speech.

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AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL


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