Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has put into focus its intention to revise the Constitution once again. This time, though, it was regarding the title of the Emperor as stated therein. Members of the LDP is calling for a re-designation of the Emperor from “Symbol of the State” to “Head of State.” Should this be approved, it could mean that the Emperor will be given an increased participation or power in the workings of the government.
The LDP argues that it is already an “undeniable fact” that the Emperor acts as the head of state, despite the fact that Japan’s post-war Constitution, which took effect in May 1947, denies him of powers that are given to other monarchs of other countries. The Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party–both opposition parties–support the LDP in this respect. On the other hand, the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan, as well as LDP’s coalition partner, New Komeito, do not agree with the proposal, saying that it is not necessary to disturb the current wordings because they do no pose any “inconvenience” anyway.
Under Article 1 of the Constitution’s first chapter, “The Emperor shall be the symbol of the State and the unity of the people, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power.” This wording was created after a Shinto-inspired war when the Emperor was considered divine. In the April 2012 proposals for Constitutional revision, the LDP used “head of state” instead, but kept “symbol of the state and the unity of the people.”[via Kyodo]