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Diet set to convene on Sept. 26 to smooth deliberations on TPP ratification, other key issues

  • August 31, 2016
  • , Yomiuri , p. 4
  • JMH Translation

The extraordinary Diet session this fall has been scheduled to convene on Sept. 26. The government and the ruling parties hope to smooth Diet deliberations by giving consideration to the Democratic Party (DP), which is electing its new president on Sept. 15. However, relations between the ruling and opposition parties are still bound to be antagonistic because the official campaign period starts on Oct. 11 and voting takes place on Oct. 23 for the by-elections for the House of Representatives 10th district of Tokyo and the 6th district of Fukuoka.

 

After obtaining the approval of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the opening date on Aug. 30, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai stressed to reporters at the party headquarters that he will work for the passage of the second FY16 supplementary budget and other key legislation, including the bill on the ratification of the TPP agreement and tax law revisions required by the postponement of the consumption tax increase.

 

The Kantei (Prime Minister’s Official Residence) and Nikai were engaged in a tug-of-war over the convening of the extraordinary Diet session. The Kantei favored Sept. 13 in order to ensure the passage of important bills, while Nikai insisted on Sept. 26.

 

Abe’s side was concerned about the handling of the TPP ratification bill. With both candidates in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8 opposing the TPP, his strategy is for Japan to complete the domestic procedures before the election “in order to prompt the Obama administration to ratify the TPP accord at an early date,” according to one of his aides. Furthermore, taking action on the TPP is also meant to demonstrate to foreign investors and other market players that Japan is serious about structural reform.

 

However, even if the Diet is convened on Sept. 13 and Abe delivers his policy speech, it will be difficult for a leaderless DP to engage in representative interpellations right away. There was also a proposal to open the Diet on Sept. 16, after the DP presidential race on Sept. 15, but Abe is traveling overseas from Sept. 18 to attend the UN General Assembly in New York and visit Cuba. Therefore, the date has been set for late September after he returns.

 

Key bills slated for deliberation at the extraordinary Diet session

 

Bills

Contents

Second FY16 supplementary budget

Implementation of first batch of projects under 28.1 trillion yen economic package

TPP ratification and related bills

Domestic procedures for the effectuation of the TPP accord

Bills relating to postponement of consumption tax increase

Delaying consumption tax increase by 30 months to October 2019

Amendments to Labor Standards Law

Creating a compensation system based on results and not hours worked

Amendments to law on punishment of organized crimes

Punishing serious organized crimes at the planning stage as measure to deal with terrorism and other major threats

Integrated resort (IR) promotion bill

Lifting ban on casinos and promoting the building of IRs with hotels, shopping malls, and other facilities

(Abridged)

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