Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai indicated on Aug. 9 that he will give consideration to the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) and make arrangements aimed at convening an extraordinary Diet session in late September after the DP decides on President Katsuya Okada’s successor in the party leadership election (Sept. 15). Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his aides were considering holding the extra Diet session for 90 days from Sept. 13, they may be forced to change their plan because of Nikai’s remarks.
Referring to the timing for opening the extra session at a press conference on Sept. 9, Nikai said, “I will carefully consider it. I want to handle it while giving consideration to the DP convention (where its presidential election will be held).” In the LDP, the prevailing view is that the extra session should be convened on Sept. 26.
In the extra Diet session, deliberations will be carried out on such bills as the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2016, a bill to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade accord and TPP-related bills, and a tax system revision bill to postpone the consumption tax hike.
In order to ensure the passage of important bills, the government is looking into securing about 90 days for the extra session.
If the session were to begin on Sept. 13, it would be possible for the supplementary budget to clear the House of Representatives during September and pass the Diet in early October. The government is aiming to enact bills at an early date after spending about a month on deliberations on the TPP ratification bill and related bills as well as the tax system revision bill.
Meanwhile, the LDP is considering trying to make the DP feel beholden to it. If the extra Diet session were to be convened in Sept. 13 as the LDP had planned, Abe would deliver a policy speech on the 13th, Okada would ask Abe questions on the 14th, and the new DP president would be elected on the 15th. The LDP’s plan is to do the DP a favor and allow its new president to ask questions on behalf of the party. (Slightly abridged)