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2007 September 5 - 11 [POLITICS]

Extraordinary Diet session opens

September 11, 2007
The extraordinary session of the Diet began on September 10. This session, which will last until November 10, is the first Diet session to take place in the new situation in which the opposition parties gained the majority of seats in the House of Councilors as a result of the July election.

Whether the Diet can set the new course of Japan’s politics by making use of the voters’ verdict delivered in the election is in question.

Major points on the agenda are the increase in poverty and social disparities, extension of the Anti-Terrorism Special measures Law that will expire on November 1, and political corruption.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on the same day delivered his policy speech (see separate item).

Rallies demanding improvement in living conditions and the defense of the Constitution were held in the Dietmembers’ Office Building, and participants were determined to seize the chance to force a change in course.

The Japanese Communist Party Dietmembers’ group held its general meeting in which Chair Shii Kazuo gave a speech.

Shii severely criticized Abe for clinging to the premiership and expressed his determination to force the Abe cabinet to resign as soon as possible.

In this Diet session, the JCP Dietmembers’ group will (1) consistently oppose the adverse government policies and play a positive role in defense of the public interest and (2) put forward the JCP proposals aimed to benefit the public based on the JCP program and policies of remaking Japan as the policy framework to replace the liberal Democratic and Komei parties’ policies.

Concerning extension of the Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, Shii stated, “Wars cannot eradicate terrorism. This is the fundamental question to be addressed.” Recalling that in the wake of the 9/11, the JCP twice sent letters to many governments in the world that urged them to help bring the suspects to justice and warned that a war of retaliation would only aggravate the situation. Shii stated, “The past six years have proved the accuracy of our warning.” He called for making clear the unreasonableness of participating in the retaliatory war in light of the actual situation in Afghanistan and the need to fundamentally change course.

Referring to the JCP Program that states, “Oppose both indiscriminate terrorist attacks that victimize the general public and retaliatory war, and work to heighten international calls and increase common action for eradicating terrorism,” Shii drew attention to the fact that the JCP Program shows a sensible position concerning this issue.

As regards the issues of defending living conditions, Shii said, “In the struggles against the massive tax increases, against the cuts in social welfare services and for the improvement in the services, we will always be confronted with financial problems.” Based on the JCP Program, he stressed the need to drastically review (1) the excessive tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthy and (2) military expenditures, including the so-called sympathy budget for funding the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan and the cost for the U.S. military realignment that will balloon to three trillion yen.

“The JCP Dietmembers group will play its unique role in this Diet session by firmly making the connection between the immediate issues and the JCP Program,” Shii stated.
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