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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 June 20 - 26  > Ruling coalition repeatedly force passage of adverse bills: abnormality in the Diet
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2007 June 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

Ruling coalition repeatedly force passage of adverse bills: abnormality in the Diet

June 22, 2007
Under Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s instruction, the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties in the current Diet session not only repeatedly pushed through adverse bills but also decided to arbitrarily extend the current session by 12 days and postpone the House of Councilors election for a week.

The ruling coalition forcibly put bills to the vote at least 14 times in both Houses without the consent of opposition parties.

In February, they railroaded through the FY2006 supplementary budget in both Houses without the attendance of opposition parties for the first time in 40 years since December 1966.

They also forcibly passed the draft FY2007 budget in the House of Representatives on March 3 for the first time in 18 years. It was unprecedented that the ruling coalition forcibly approved the budget-related bills simultaneously in the three committees concerned.

The House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting was so confused that some Liberal Democratic Party members mistakenly stood up (to show their support) when a JCP-proposed motion to revise the budget was put to the vote.

At the June 15 House of Representatives finance committee meeting, the ruling block forcibly closed the committee discussion on a bill, which the opposition Democratic Party of Japan was in favor of, after only a 20-minute question time for ruling party members only.

Prime minister desperate for producing ‘results’

An Asahi Shimbun editorial on June 21 wrote about this extremely unusual Diet session, saying, “We can’t recall a past Diet session in which the ruling camp unilaterally forced a vote on so many important bills.”

Since Prime Minister Abe has been driven into a difficult situation due to his cabinet members’ scandals and impermissible remarks as well as the pension fiasco, he has been desperate in showing off his “leadership” and trying to produce “results” with the House of Councilors election in mind.

The ruling camp decided to extend the Diet session in order to get pending bills enacted. These bills, however, go against the wishes of the public, far from producing “results.” The bill to revise the National Public Service Law will openly liberalize “Amakudari”, the bureaucratic practice of retired officials gaining executive positions in corporations.

By extending the Diet session, the ruling parties are pursuing their own interests in delaying the House of Councilors election until the furor over the pension issue dies down.

DPJ as ‘unreliable’ opposition

Both the LDP and the DPJ have been willing to manipulate the Diet session through collaboration between their ranking members on the board of directors of each Diet committee. They decided on the schedule of committee discussions and dates of voting in disregard of the JCP and other small parties’ opinions.

In the Lower House discussion on the ruling coalition-submitted bill to revise the Political Funds Control Law, the DPJ repeatedly changed its policy to make its own bill closer to the ruling parties’ one through negotiations between the ranking members on the committee.

The DPJ’s response to the “office expense” scandals and the three education bills have also proved that with such an ‘unreliable position’ the DPJ will not stand up to the rampage of the ruling parties.

JCP adhering to its principle

Firmly opposed to the ruling parties’ outrageous actions, the JCP has taken active part in Diet discussions to expose the crux of adverse bills. For example, the JCP consistently pointed out that the constitutional revision procedure bill enacted in this Diet session is aimed at paving the way for revising Article 9.

A former LDP member of the cabinet said, “Although my political position is different from the JCP, I think it is only the JCP that has coherence in its questionings and discussions.”

The JCP is also calling for parliamentary discussions to be conducted based on consensus among all parties. - Akahata, June 22, 2007
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