Ruling coalition party New Komeito member Yoshio Urushibara criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for failing to “listen to the voices of the people” as he pursued efforts to reinterpret the Constitution to allow the right to collective self-defense. The New Komeito has been treading the issue of reinterpreting the Constitution carefully and has indicated an opposing stance on the premier’s moves.
A senior member of the ruling coalition party, Urushibara denounced Abe’s actions to have the Cabinet approve a reinterpretation of the Constitution that would grant Japan permission to exercise the right to collective self-defense. The New Komeito Diet affairs chief said Abe “has missed the most important step in this process: to listen to the voices of the people, and thus I cannot support this policy.” Abe’s panel of advisers is expected to submitted a report that would tackle rebuilding the legal basis for national security, which the prime minister will discuss with his Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito before coming up with a decision with his Cabinet.
The New Komeito chief noted that, “every post-war prime minister has told the Japanese people that ‘exercising the right to collective self-defense is impossible under Article 9 of the Constitution.’ Even if the prime minister suddenly announces that ‘we’ve changed our interpretation of the Constitution with a Cabinet decision’ and whatnot, I can’t see how the people could possible accept that.” He further fumed that, “It’s beyond reckless for the mere 19 members of the Cabinet to decide this issue,” which he described “must be properly debated in the Diet and gain the approval of the Japanese people as a whole.” Abe has already approached New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi to ask for his support on the defense resolution, but with Urushibara’s tirade, it is expected that Yamaguchi’s decision will highly impact the final outcome.