Japan’s Abe pushes charter change despite election results

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for public debate on revising Japan’s pacifist constitution, saying voters who handed his ruling bloc a majority in weekend parliamentary elections have given him a mandate.

Abe’s ruling coalition secured a majority Sunday in the upper house, the less powerful of two chambers, while losing ground and retreating from the supermajority it had in both houses — a requirement to propose a constitutional change. The result is a setback for Abe’s long-cherished goal of constitutional revision, which has already been a challenge.

Abe renewed his determination on Monday and called for more debate, offering flexibility for a revision to win support from conservative members of opposition parties.

Sunday’s showing was solid enough to prevent a major change to Abe’s grip on power.

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