(Mainichi: February 2, 2016 – p. 2)
Diet deliberations, which stalled due to the influence-peddling scandal involving former Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari reported by the weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun, will return to normalcy from Feb. 2. Since the ruling and opposition parties agreed to conduct deliberations involving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, deliberations on a bill on the budget for fiscal year will start possibly on Feb. 3. As the cabinet support rating is rising in various polls, the ruling coalition will likely manage Diet affairs at its own pace.
The ruling parties gained an advantage in deliberations on Diet schedules. In a meeting of secretaries general on Feb. 1, although the ruling camp made such concessions as agreeing to hold a question-and-answer session involving Abe as the opposition demanded, they were able to script a scenario in which the question-and-answer sessions will be completed during this week.
The opposition parties are perplexed by the increase in the cabinet support rating. In the meeting of secretaries general, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Yukio Edano stressed that “it is necessary to uncover the truth about the allegations by summoning Mr. Amari to testify as a Diet witness.” After the meeting, Edano told the press: “This scandal should not influence the support rating.”
However, a senior DPJ member said with disappointment, “Mr. Amari swiftly resigned before the seriousness of the scandal sank in.” A mid-level DPJ member said: “The DPJ should not only pursue the scandal but also present counterproposals in a fair and square manner.” (Abridged)