Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe places a symbolic red flower next to the name of winning Liberal Democratic Party candidates in the July 21 Upper House election. (Yosuke Fukudome)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will find it tougher to realize his long-held goal of amending the Constitution as the parties favoring such a move look likely to fall short of the two-thirds majority needed in the Upper House to initiate an amendment.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and junior coalition partner, Komeito, have expressed support for revising the Constitution as has opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party).

With those three parties and a number of incumbents controlling 79 seats that were not contested in the July 21 Upper House election, the three parties would have had to gain a combined 85 seats to maintain a two-thirds majority in the 245-seat Upper House.

Abe had repeatedly said during the campaign that the election was about a clear choice between parties and candidates who wanted to push forward debate on constitutional revision and those that did not.

He has clearly been frustrated at the lack of any serious discussions in the Constitution commissions of the two chambers of the Diet, and he was expected to push forward debate if those parties favoring constitutional revision maintained its two-thirds majority.

But early returns and exit polls indicated that the three parties would fall short of the 85 seats needed for the two-thirds majority.