Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is emphasizing the need for political stability ahead of this summer's Upper House election. Abe made the remarks in his address to the nation, as the ordinary session of the Diet came to a close.
Abe used the opportunity to push his government's position on a number of issues. He says he wants to promote local economies, reform the country's social security systems and amend the Constitution.
Abe said, "The Constitution should reflect our ideal on what Japan should be like in the Reiwa Era. But, over the past year, the Commission on the Constitution was in session for only about two hours at the Lower House, and merely three minutes at the Upper House. I want to ask the public whether it is appropriate for some lawmakers to refuse even to debate the Constitution."
Abe's Liberal Democratic Party is proposing several changes to the country's Constitution, including adding a reference to Japan's Self-Defense Forces.
Article nine renounces war and prohibits Japan from maintaining a military.
The prime minister also said the upcoming G20 summit will be a chance to enhance Japan's leadership on the world stage.
Abe said, "US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders will gather in Japan for the G20 summit, which will start on Friday. I'm determined to do my best as the chair of the summit and make it a spring board to elevate Japan's post-war diplomacy to a higher level."
Half of the Upper House seats will be up for grabs in the election on July 21.
Abe's ruling coalition will square off against opposition parties looking to chip away at its dominance over the Diet.