We protest against passage in Lower House of bill to amend national referendum law on revision of the Constitution and demand its full Upper House deliberation
Statement by Kurosawa Koichi
the National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren)
May 11, 2021
The House of Representatives today (May 11) approved a bill to amend the national referendum law on revision of the Constitution by majority votes of the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komeito parties, and some opposition parties ? the Japan Innovation Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party for the People ? without addressing the bill’s fundamental defects regarding the need to restrict TV advertising and the minimum voter turnout required for a vote. The Lower House action is nothing but a move aimed at pushing ahead with debate on constitutional revision. We strongly protest about it.
In the current Ordinary Session of the Diet, the ruling parties in the Commission on the Constitution of the House of Representatives pushed for the vote as a fait accompli. The Commission never discussed the bill’s shortcomings. For this reason, the Constitutional Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party expressed opposition to putting the bill to a vote. But the Constitutional Democratic Party suddenly agreed to the vote at the Commission by proposing amending the bill to create additional clauses to deal with restricting TV advertising and other matters by considering them with a view to taking legislative and other measures in three years after the amended law takes effect. However, the proposed amendments can hardly be said to have been debated fully in the Commission meeting. The defective bill remains unchanged.
In a message to a meeting of pro-constitutional revision forces on May 3 (Constitution Day), Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said that the bill to revise the national referendum law on revising the Constitution “marks the first step promoting debate on revision of the Constitution,” making clear his intention. The LDP’s Policy Research Council Chairman Shimomura Hakubun suggested that the current coronavirus crisis should be turned into a chance to revise the Constitution. Today, amid the fourth wave of the epidemic, in which people are dying as the country’s healthcare system is reaching a breaking point, it is unconscionable for a lawmaker to take the crisis as a chance to revise the Constitution. The task now is for the government to concentrate all energy on implementing anti-coronavirus measures to save people’s lives guided by the Constitution.
Prime Minister Suga’s government, which disregards the Constitution, is pushing ahead with railroading bills that make light people’s lives and human rights in the current session of the Diet, including a digital transformation bill, which allow individual data to be used to help corporations make profits and to carry out surveillance of citizens; a bill to adversely amend the immigration law to expel refugees seeking asylum; and a bill to restrict people’s use of land with the aim of barring people from using land near military bases and nuclear power plants. The Constitution is in crisis that has never been seen, making a nationwide popular struggle imperative.
Zenroren opposes the bill to amend the national referendum law that paves the way for debate on revision of the Constitution. We will continue to step up the struggle to get the bill scrapped with the determination to stop the Suga government from destroying the Constitution and realize politics guided by the Constitution.