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‘Abe should ditch plans to amend pacifist constitution’

Tokyo, Sep 27 (IANS) Opposition parties in Japan, which recently agreed to cooperate to hold the ruling Liberal Democratic Party-led bloc more accountable in parliament, took aim at Prime Minster Shinzo Abe’s plans to amend Japan’s pacifist Constitution on Tuesday.

Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who currently serves as the main opposition Democratic Party’s Secretary General, said he wants Abe’s administration to be kept in check as per the will of the people they purportedly serve, Xinhua news agency reported.

Noda called for Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party to withdraw its draft Constitution amendment proposal before it goes to parliament to be debated, asking Abe directly: “Will you make light of the rights of the public and go into the debate seeking to realize the LDP draft, which would deny the natural rights of humankind and put the country at the centre of the Constitution?”

In addition, on the first of a three-day question session to the Prime Minister, Noda and Democratic Party policy chief Hiroshi Ogushi, also took Abe to task over his plans to swiftly ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in the current session of parliament.

They claimed that the deal as it stands does not live up to a prior agreement to protect some of Japan’s sensitive agricultural products.

“It’s unclear how the TPP will benefit our country, but what is clear is that the government and ruling parties haven’t listened sincerely to farmers’ voices,” Ogushi argued.

The opposition union also slammed Abe’s “Abenomics” economic policy blend as having run its course and said his economic blueprint laid out in a speech on Monday was worrying and could lead to greater economic disparities in society.

“The failure of ‘Abenomics’ drove the Premier’s decision before the July upper house election to postpone a second consumption tax hike,” Noda said.

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