(Yomiuri: July 12, 2015 – p. 2)
Deliberations on the peace and security-related bills at the House of Representatives special committee, which started in May, now total about 103 hours. Maneuvering between the ruling and opposition parties over the timetable for voting on the bills will reach its peak early next week.
There is a strong opinion in the government and the ruling parties that the bills should be put to a vote in the special committee on July 15 and passed at a plenary session of the Lower House on July 16.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters during a visit to the town of Minami-sanriku in Miyagi Prefecture on July 11: “The issues have been sorted out considerably. We will make a decision when a decision needs to be made.” He thus stressed that conditions are becoming ripe for taking a vote.
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) General Council Chairman Toshihiro Nikai also mentioned to reporters in Wakayama City the possibility of voting on the bills at the special committee on July 15. He said: “That’s about the target date, give or take a day or two.”
However, if the opposition boycotts the ballot, it is highly possible that there will be criticism of unilateral passage by the ruling parties. The two ruling parties are planning to have the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) participate in the vote by deliberating the JIP’s counterproposals or making concessions in discussions with this party on revising the security bills. Therefore, there is also the option of delaying the vote for a week, based on the results of the meeting among the LDP, Komeito, and the JIP on July 14.
The Democratic Party of Japan and others are even opposed to putting the bills to a vote, claiming “discussions have not been conducted thoroughly enough.” (Slightly abridged)