Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party and his allied political forces won a strong majority in Sunday's upper house election, but fell short of a two-thirds 'super majority' required to push ahead with amending the Japan's postwar pacifist Constitution.
With the total of 124 seats up for grabs, the pro-amendment camp needed to win at least 85 seats to get a two-thirds majority in the House of Councillors.
According to local newspaper Asahi Shimbun, the pro-revision parties claimed 81 seats.
Despite his long-held hope of constitutional reform slipping through his fingers,.. Abe pointed to voters siding with political stability.
"Stability or chaos, this is what I have been appealing to the public about. The results show that the public made a judgement for us to make advancements on policies under a stable political base and to proceed on diplomacy to protect the state's interests. I want to meet these expectations."
Having pledged to stipulate the role of the Self-Defence Forces in the constitution, Abe has set his sights on doing so in a revised constitution in 2020.
But with the pro-amendment camp failing to secure the two-thirds majority, Abe faces a tough task of convincing opposition parties if he wants to enshrine Japan's Self-Defense Forces in the constitution.
Japan's current constitution does not allow the country to develop its military or wage war.
Taking office in December 2012, Abe is on course to become Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister if he stays in position until November.
According to Japanese broadcaster NHK, the voter turnout for Sunday's election was estimated at below 50 percent -- a low not seen in an upper house poll since 1995.
Kan Hyeong-woo, Arirang News