thursday, 4 june of 2020

Bill

Japan's ruling bloc to push back controversial prosecutor bills

The government and ruling parties are planning to push back controversial bills to a session of the Diet that is expected to be held in the autumn.

They intend to prioritize the passage of a fiscal 2020 draft second supplementary budget, which includes measures to handle the fallout from the novel coronavirus epidemic, in the current ordinary Diet session.

With the ordinary session ending on June 17, the government and ruling camp are currently tackling remaining bills.

The government has submitted 56 new bills to the ordinary session. Of them, 35 bills, or 62.5 percent, had been enacted as of Tuesday.

With only two weeks remaining, that proportion is significantly lower than the 94.7 percent seen in last year’s ordinary session.

The situation was caused by a pause in deliberations triggered by parliamentary remarks by Justice Minister Masako Mori on extending the retirement age of Hiromu Kurokawa, former head of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office, and much time that has been spent on discussions regarding the first extra budget, experts have said.

The government and ruling camp hope to end the current Diet session without an extension so they can deprive opposition parties of an opportunity to grill the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with public support for the Cabinet falling due to criticism over its response to the coronavirus crisis.

Secretaries-general and heads of Diet affairs from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, Komeito, held a meeting Tuesday.

LDP Diet affairs chief Hiroshi Moriyama said after the talks that both parties "share the same view" that the number of days for the Diet session should be as planned.

The government and ruling bloc will put off enactment of legislation to revise the public prosecutor’s office law and the national public service act, which are bundled with other bills, and will delay passing a bill to amend the plant variety protection and seed act.

The approval of a revision to the law on special measures for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, designed to move holidays for next summer in line with the postponement of the Tokyo Games, will also be difficult.

Meanwhile, opposition parties have not changed their stance on grilling the Abe administration.

Jun Azumi, Diet affairs chief of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, met with Moriyama on Tuesday.

Citing a problem with an organization commissioned by the government to hand out benefits to businesses hit by the fallout from the coronavirus, Azumi requested that intensive discussions on the issue be held during a budget committee meeting.

He warned that his party will refuse to participate in deliberations at Diet committees this week if the ruling camp turns down the request.

(Published by The Japan Times, June 3, 2020)
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