(Mainichi: July 23, 2015 – p. 5)
Hiromi Yoshida, chairman of the Diet affairs committee of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party caucus in the House of Councillors, and his Democratic Party of Japan counterpart Katsuya Shinba met on July 22 in the Diet building. The LDP and DPJ Diet affairs committee chiefs agreed that an Upper House special committee to deliberate on the security-related bills will comprise 45 members as the opposition side requested. Following the agreement, whether to establish the special committee will be put to a vote at the Upper House plenary session on July 24. The Upper House is expected to begin deliberations on the security-related bills by holding a session to provide a briefing on the purpose of a set of government-sponsored bills as early as July 27.
In order to smoothly start deliberations on the security legislation, the LDP has made a concession to the opposition side’s demand that the committee be composed of 45 members rather than 35, which the ruling party proposed.
The number of committee seats allocated to political parties is as follows: 20 to the LDP; 11 to the DPJ; four to Komeito; two each to the Japan Innovation Party and the Japanese Communist Party; and one each to the Assembly to Energize Japan, the Party for Future Generations, the Independents Club, the Social Democratic Party, the People’s Life Party, and the New Renaissance Party. Yoshitada Konoike is expected to chair the special committee.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met on July 22 with former Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura. At the meeting Abe took a stance of making an effort to explain the security-related bills, saying, “The UN Peacekeeping (PKO) Cooperation Law was enacted in the teeth of opposition from a large segment of the public. At that time, Japan was at a major turning point. Japan is now at a similar turning point. We must provide further explanations.” (Slightly abridged)