Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe prays before the grave of his father, Shintaro, in Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Aug. 13. His wife, Akie, stands behind him. (Naoki Matsuyama)

NAGATO, Yamaguchi Prefecture--Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed on Aug. 13 to push forward his pet project to amend the Constitution during a visit to his father's grave here.

“I reported at the grave of my father that we have reached the days of starting debate on the Constitution in earnest in the Diet,” he told reporters, noting that amending the supreme law has been a paramount goal since his Liberal Democratic Party was established in 1955.

His father, Shintaro Abe, who served as foreign minister, grew up in Nagato. He died at age 67 in 1991.

The prime minister said he informed his father of the results of the July 21 Upper House election, in which the LDP and junior coalition partner, Komeito, won a majority.

“I renewed my resolve to act determinedly to respond to the public mandate given to us,” he said.

Abe began his Bon holiday visit to the prefecture on Aug. 12, paying tribute to his grandfather on his mother’s side, Nobusuke Kishi (1896-1987), at his grave in Tabuse. Kishi served as prime minister from 1957 to 1960.

Abe is expected to leave the prefecture, where his home constituency is located, on Aug. 14.