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Ruling, opposition parties to give priority to ISIL hostage crisis in Diet business

  • 2015-01-27 15:00:00
  • , Yomiuri
  • Translation

(Yomiuri: January 27, 2015 – p. 4)


 The 189th regular Diet session opened on Jan. 26, marking the start of deliberations by the ruling and opposition parties on economic policy, security legislation, and other issues. However, in light of the extremist Islamic State’s abduction of Japanese hostages, the ruling and opposition parties have shown their willingness to cooperate with the government in dealing with the crisis, and this is likely to affect the management of Diet business.


 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed at a meeting of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) executives on Jan. 26 that while he will make every effort to respond to the crisis, he intends to pass the FY2015 budget before the end of the current fiscal year.


 Interpellation on Minister of Finance Taro Aso’s financial policy speech will be held at both houses of the Diet on Jan. 27 and 28, which will require the presence of the Prime Minister and all cabinet members. The ruling parties called for flexible management of Diet business at a meeting of the House of Representatives Committee on Rules and Administration on Jan. 26 because “the relevant cabinet ministers may need to leave in the middle of a meeting depending on developments in the crisis.” The opposition parties agreed.


 The government and ruling parties plan to have the senior vice ministers respond to interpellation in place of the Prime Minister, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, or Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in an emergency. It is unusual for ministers to be excused from such meetings which are regarded as “highlights” of a Diet session.


 The ruling parties also plan to ask the opposition for such flexibility at the Budget Committee, where the Prime Minister and opposition leaders engage in direct debate. A senior LDP official in the House of Councillors even observes that “confrontation between ruling and opposition parties will naturally be less intense because the opposition also supports the government in the hostage crisis.”


 At a news conference on Jan. 26, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Yukio Edano stated that his party supports the government in making every possible effort to save human life. For now, the DPJ will not scrutinize or question the government’s response to the crisis. Although this is the first Diet session since the party’s leader Katsuya Okada has assumed office, he is facing an unexpected situation from the beginning. Okada had declared his intent to adopt a confrontational attitude toward Abe. Japan Innovation Party leader Kenji Eda has also pledged the party’s full support in this crisis. (Slightly abridged)

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