Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Money and Politics Issues Clog Legislation in Diet

Newspaper article The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)

Money and Politics Issues Clog Legislation in Diet

Article excerpt

The Diet has delayed deliberations over pending bills, partly because of the recent resignations of two Cabinet ministers, at a time when less than a month remains until the extraordinary Diet session ends on Nov. 30.

During the latter half of the current Diet session, the ruling and opposition camps will likely intensify confrontations over key bills, including a government-sponsored bill to revise the law on dispatched workers.

On Friday, two bills were passed in the House of Representatives -- approving the Japan-Australia economic partnership agreement and revising a law on temporary measures concerning relevant tariffs.

The two bills were the first to be passed by the lower house in this extraordinary Diet session.

At a press conference Friday, Hachiro Okonogi, acting chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party's Diet Affairs Committee, said: "We had planned for voting to be held a little earlier on. Next time, we'll call on opposition parties to aim at reaching a consensus on various issues."

The government has submitted 31 bills to the current Diet session, but none of them have been passed. Earlier, a government source said, "We expected steady progress in this Diet session," because the ruling and opposition parties were at odds over only a small number of bills.

But the situation was turned on its head after revelations of problems over politics and money in both the ruling and opposition camps.

For instance, a bill to revitalize local communities and create jobs has not passed through the lower house despite expectations of speedy progress. Deliberations on a bill to encourage women's participation and advancement in the workforce were also delayed, finally starting on Friday.

Concerning the bill to revise the Law for Securing the Proper Operation of Worker Dispatching Undertakings and Improved Working Conditions for Dispatched Workers, which aims to enable dispatched workers to work more flexibly, Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the LDP, prematurely presented a modified draft of the revision bill to other political parties. Opposition parties took offense, resulting in the cancellation last weekend of deliberation on the bill by a Diet committee.

A senior member from the LDP Diet Affairs Committee said that if the bill "can be passed through the lower house by Nov. 18, it'll be possible to pass it through the House of Councillors." But opposition parties have voiced objections.

Even an LDP member remarked that the bill "was doomed. It's better to postpone passage of the bill during this Diet session."

On Tuesday, an intensive deliberation session regarding the basic policy lines of the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be held in the upper house, following a similar session in the lower house. …

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