Japan PM Abe says poll result shows voters want debate on charter revision, vows to make economy top priority

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has long sought to revise the constitution's pacifist Article 9 to further legitimise the military, but public opinion is divided.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has long sought to revise the constitution's pacifist Article 9 to further legitimise the military, but public opinion is divided.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday (July 22) called for debate on revising the post-war, pacifist constitution, saying the result of an upper house election the previous day showed it was what voters sought.

Mr Abe's Liberal Democratic Party-led coalition won a solid majority, but together with like-minded allies, fell short of the two-thirds "super majority" needed to begin the controversial process of amending the constitution, never changed since it was adopted after Japan's World War Two defeat.

Mr Abe has long sought to revise the constitution's pacifist Article 9 to further legitimise the military, but public opinion is divided.

On the economy, Mr Abe said he would take all possible steps flexibly and without hesitation when downside risks to the economy emerge, pledging to continue to make economy his top priority.

He also said he would take measures fully to support private consumption when the national sales tax rises to 10 per cent from the current 8 per cent in October.