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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 20 - 26  > Extension of Diet session to force through controversial bills on labor reform and casino development is unacceptable
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2018 June 20 - 26 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Extension of Diet session to force through controversial bills on labor reform and casino development is unacceptable

June 21, 2018

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties and its supplementary force on June 20 used their majority to extend the current Diet session, which was scheduled to end on this day, by 32 days until July 22. The aim of the extension is to steamroll through a package of “work-style reform” bills which seek to introduce a “zero-overtime-payment” system and a bill to legally permit the operation of casinos. The urgent need is to foil the Prime Minister Abe Shinzo-led administration’s anti-people attempts and strengthen public opinion and movements for scrapping the bills on “work-style reform” and casino operations.

The latest media polls show that a majority of the general public is opposed to both the “work-style reform” bills and the casino bill. In the Yomiuri Shimbun survey, 58% of the respondents said that they “do not think” that the work-style reform package should become law in the ongoing Diet session. Regarding the casino bill, 73% of the respondents in the Asahi Shimbun poll said that enactment of the bill is “unnecessary” and 61.5% in the Sankei Shimbun survey opposed the enactment. It is totally irrational for the ruling block to push forward with such legislation in defiance of public opposition by prolonging the current ordinary session.

More importantly, serious flaws and inconsistencies in these bills have been exposed in Diet proceedings up to this point. Diet deliberations on the work-style reform measures revealed that the essence of the government proposals is a labor system reform in line with demands from the business world. The bills, if enacted, will impose longer working hours on workers and will lead to an increase in deaths from overwork (karoshi). Mountains of altered records and outliers have been discovered in the Labor Ministry data on the discretionary work system. On top of that, the falsification of the result of a survey on workers’ demands for a “zero-overtime-payment” system has come to light. With these questions arising, the government was stuck for an answer in the Diet.

As for the casino legislation, Diet discussions exposed adverse effects to be expected with the opening of gambling casinos in Japan. The government boasted that casino operations will be regulated by the world’s strictest rules. However, the proposed regulations have more holes than Swiss cheese. This has been causing much controversy, but the government is unable to provide any proper explanations.

Any bill should be scrapped if it is unable to be enacted within the scheduled time period. This is the fundamental principle of the legislative session system. Unilateral extension of the parliamentary period just for the ruling parties’ convenience is an outrageous act that damages the proper functioning of a parliamentary democracy.

Past related articles:
> Casino bill steamrollered through Lower House committee [June 16, 2018]
> Ruling block bulldozes through ‘work-style reform’ package bill [May 26, 2018]
> Casinos may involve money lending operations [May 24, 2018]
> Abe admits discretionary work system won't contribute to reducing working hours [February 15, 2018]
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