Japan's Abe pushes charter change despite election results

Japan's Abe pushes charter change despite election results
Japan's Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Shinzo Abe speaks following Sunday's elections results, at the party's headquarter in Tokyo Monday, July 22, 2019. Abe's ruling coalition secured a majority in Japan's upper house of parliament in elections Sunday, but it lost ground and fell short of the super-majority needed to propose constitutional revisions, according to vote counts by public television and other media. (Yohei Kanesashi/Kyodo News via AP)

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.