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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 17 - 23  > Ordinary Diet session focusing on Article 9 revision convened
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2018 January 17 - 23 [POLITICS]

Ordinary Diet session focusing on Article 9 revision convened

January 23, 2018

With the 196th ordinary session of the Diet convened on January 22, the battle between pro- and anti-constitution forces will become a major political issue.

On the first day of the 150-day Diet session, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo gave his policy speech to both Houses of the Diet at their plenary meetings. In his speech, PM Abe said that he expects Constitution Commissions at both Houses of the Diet to further promote discussions on constitutional revision, indicating his eagerness to change the pacifist Constitution.

In addition to constitutional amendments, PM Abe in his speech placed importance on the enactment of bills to implement his “work style reform” scheme during this ordinary Diet session. A pillar of the “work style reform” is to introduce a “zero-overtime payment” system, expand the scope of the discretionary labor system, and allow for overtime hours right up to the number of hours used for official recognition of work-related deaths.

PM Abe also indicated his intention to push forward with the U.S. base construction in the Henoko district, military build-up under the guise of the North Korea issue, the planned consumption tax increase to 10%, cuts in social welfare, and the promotion of casino gambling.

Earlier in the day, the Japanese Communist Party held a general assembly of the JCP parliamentarians group in the Diet building. JCP Chair Shii Kazuo in his speech stressed that in protest against PM Abe’s anti-people politics, an alliance between concerned citizens and opposition parties was established five years ago and has been developed steadily. Shii called on JCP lawmakers to work hard inside and outside the Diet to further advance the opposition/citizens unity in action.

Stating that a major issue in the ordinary Diet session is to foil PM Abe’s ambition to amend Article 9, Shii said, “Let us take the initiative to ensure a majority of the public favors the protection of Article 9.”

Shii explained that together with further investigations of the Moritomo and Kake scandals, a fight to block PM Abe’s “work style reform” plan will also become a major task to undertake during this Diet session. Referring to Okinawa’s series of elections in coming months, including the Nago mayoral race and the gubernatorial election, Shii appealed for the need to conduct Diet deliberations that will help the anti-base “All Okinawa” force win in the upcoming elections.

Furthermore, Shii said, “In line with the JCP Program, let us grill the Abe government concerning its position that is excessively subservient to the Trump administration whose dangerous nature has been revealed and concerning the promotion of military buildup.

Past related article:
> Record high 5.2 trillion yen in FY 2018 budget draft allocated for defense spending [December 23, 2017]
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