"--Indo=Asian News Service"
Tokyo, June 20 - The minimum voting age in Japan has been lowered from 20 to 18 as a revised national referendum law took effect Friday.

According to Japanese law, a revision of the constitution needs to be initiated with the support of at least two-thirds of the lawmakers in both houses of parliament must be endorsed by a majority of voters in a referendum, Xinhua reported.

The revised national referendum law is an effort by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to amend the country's war-renouncing pacifist constitution.

Abe's administration has sought to reinterpret the constitution to exercise the collective defence rights in the short term, but in a long run seeks to revise the constitution and the revised national referendum law is a critical step toward the long-term goal.

Nevertheless, amending the pacifist constitution, which has never been revised since its promulgation in 1946, has drawn domestic and international criticism.

--Indo=Asian News Service

ksk/vm


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