On Sept. 6, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito held a meeting of their secretaries-general and Diet Affairs Committee chairmen in Tokyo. They discussed when to convene the extraordinary session of the Diet and agreed to postpone making a decision on the timing of the session because the prime minister’s diplomatic schedule cannot be pinned down as he is required to address the North Korea issue. The parties had originally arranged a start date of Sept. 25, but this may be delayed. They will continue to make arrangements with an eye to opening the session that same week.
The prime minister will participate in the United Nations General Meeting to be held in New York at the end of this month. His return date was originally scheduled for Sept. 23, so the government and ruling parties were moving forward with arrangements to convene the extraordinary session on Sept. 25.
North Korea has repeatedly launched ballistic missiles and has conducted its sixth nuclear test, The government is therefore required to join hands with other countries [to address this pressing issue]. A top LDP leader said, “The prime minister needs to meet frequently with the leaders of other nations, and the schedule for those talks is not set.”
At the extraordinary Diet session, the government plans to submit a bill on work-style reform, a bill to revise the Health Promotion Act to regulate indoor passive smoking, a bill to implement integrated resorts (IR) to remove the ban on casinos, and a bill to revise the Civil Code to lower the legal age of adulthood from 20 to 18.
It looks like it will be a balancing act just to schedule deliberations for the Upper and Lower Houses’ Committees on Health, Labor and Welfare on the work-style reform bill and the Health Promotion Act reform bill. Government sources are concerned that “if the opening of the session is delayed just a few days, the chances are slim that the bills related to labor, health, and welfare will be passed.”
The government and ruling parties would like to close the extraordinary session at the beginning of December so they can compile the draft budget for FY2018.