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Abe's Coalition Wins Upper House, Falls Short for Push to Revise Constitution

Write: 2019-07-22 15:49:56Update: 2019-07-22 15:50:56

Abe's Coalition Wins Upper House, Falls Short for Push to Revise Constitution

Photo : YONHAP News

Anchor: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition won the upper house election on Sunday, but fell short of a two-thirds majority to initiate his push to revise Japan's pacifist constitution. South Korea denounced Abe's remarks on election night, when he urged Seoul to "appropriately respond" to the wartime forced labor issue.
Choi You Sun reports.

Report: Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito won 57 and 14 seats in the Diet, respectively, out of 124 seats up for grabs during Sunday's upper house elections.

Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition secured a majority in the 245-member House of Councillors, they failed to retain the two-thirds supermajority needed for Abe to push his long-held plans for constitutional reforms.

The ruling and opposition parties, as well as the Japanese public, are divided over revising the war-renouncing Article 9, a symbol of Japan’s post-war pacifism.

On the back of winning upper house majority, meanwhile, the Abe administration is expected to further expand its trade restrictions targeting South Korea.

Appearing on Asahi TV during its election coverage on Sunday, Abe said constructive discussions between Seoul and Tokyo would be possible only when Seoul brings an "appropriate response to its breach" of a 1965 treaty that normalized bilateral ties.

Tokyo has been challenging the validity of the South Korean Supreme Court's rulings last year that ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor, claiming that all reparation issues were settled with the 1965 treaty.

Abe has denied the export curbs enforced earlier this month on smartphone and display materials to South Korea were in retaliation to the forced labor issue, claiming instead they are trade measures linked to national security.

South Korea's presidential office denounced Abe's latest remarks on Monday, urging Tokyo not to cross the line but make efforts toward future bilateral cooperation for the good of the people in both countries.

Stressing Seoul has always appropriately responded to bilateral issues, presidential spokesperson Ko Min-jung accused Tokyo of repeatedly changing the rationale for its ongoing export curbs against South Korea.

Ko also said Seoul maintains its two-track approach of striving for forward-looking relations with Japan while separately dealing with historical issues. 
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.

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