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2020 January 15 - 21 [POLITICS]

What do parliamentarians do in an ordinary session of the Diet?

January 20, 2020
This year’s ordinary session of the Diet is to open on January 20. What do parliamentarians do in an ordinary Diet session in the first place?

An ordinary session of the Diet is convened in January every year and lasts for 150 days. The main item on the agenda is formulating the draft government budget for the next fiscal year.

Following the start of an ordinary Diet session, the prime minister makes a policy speech to explain the Cabinet’s overall plan for the year. In response, representatives of political parties ask questions about the speech in meetings of both Houses and then start deliberations on a draft budget. Dietmember discuss bills and treaties mainly after the budget is passed.

In addition to an ordinary session, the Diet holds extraordinary sessions and special sessions. An extraordinary session takes place when it is deemed necessary to pass bills and a supplementary budget in order to implement measures to deal with, for example, recovery from natural disasters. Furthermore, the Cabinet has to convene an extraordinary session of the Diet when requested by at least one-fourth of the total members of either House.

A special session of the Diet comes after a House of Representatives election. As soon as a special Diet session opens, all Cabinet members resign and elections to nominate a prime minister are carried out in both Houses of the Diet.

In this year’s ordinary session of the Diet, pro-constitutional opposition parties will focus their attention on deliberations about the planned dispatch of Self-Defense Force units to the Middle East, a bribery scandal in relation to the casino resort scheme, and a controversy over the “cherry blossom-viewing party” hosted by the prime minister. Other important topics include social welfare, employment, and education as well as the consumption tax, nuclear power generation, and PM Abe’s move to revise Article 9 of the Constitution.
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