Nursing care insurance and postal privatization will dominate second half of Diet session

With the FY 2005 national budget enacted on March 23, the current Diet session that ends on June 19 now enters its second half, in which revision of the nursing care insurance system and postal privatization will be major issues.

Discussion on the nursing care insurance bill, which will impose extra burdens on the people and reduce their benefits, will start at a committee of the House of Representatives.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is still unable to reach an intra-party consensus on a postal privatization bill although it intends to submit one in March.

Postal privatization, if enacted, will undermine the universality of postal services and will only benefit large financial institutions.

The constitutional research committees of both houses of the Diet in late April will submit to the chairs their final reports on the five years of discussions.

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Akahata of March 25 reports commercial newspapers' editorial comments on the first half of the Diet session, mostly critical of the poor parliamentary discussion under "the two major party system."

The "Mainichi" editorial of March 24 said, "Parliament has been insulted, which is really serious." A major local paper "Nishinihon" (western Japan) in its editorial said, "We must question ourselves if it is truly good to turn to a two-party system." It warns that this system will dismiss minority opinions concerning constitutional questions.

Referring to the early enactment of the national budget, which is the fourth earliest in the postwar period, the "Asahi" said that the speed reflects the lack of discussion between collusive parties. (end)

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