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POLITICS > Diet

Panel led by Koizumi submits proposals for Diet reform

  • June 28, 2018
  • , Yomiuri , p. 4
  • JMH Translation

The “conference for a vision of the economic society beyond 2020” consisting of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Chief Deputy Secretary General Shinjiro Koizumi and other mid-ranking and junior Diet members submitted to Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai on June 27 their proposals on Diet reform, such as creating special investigation committees on certain issues and improvement of the party leaders’ debate.

 

These proposals are the group’s interim report on the discussions that have taken place in the panel since March. While the report hails the political reforms in recent years resulting in a shift from bureaucrat-centered politics to strong leadership by the prime minister, it calls for promoting “unfinished Diet reforms” and oversight of prime minister-led administration.

 

The proposed special investigation committees of the Diet have such issues as the Moritomo Gakuen affair in mind. This proposal calls for the special committees to invoke the Diet’s right to investigate government affairs when cases that call into question the administration’s fairness occur, so that the committees can prioritize deliberation of bills.

 

The report also proposes holding the party leaders’ debates once every two weeks in the evening, so that more people can watch them [on TV]. It also contains a proposal to have the chairs of both houses of the Diet and the committees set the deliberation schedules two weeks ahead in order to prevent the ruling and opposition parties from using Diet schedules for political struggle.

 

Main points of Diet reform proposals

 

Holding party leaders’ debates once every two weeks in the evening

Creating special investigation committees for cases where the administration’s fairness is in question; these cases will not be handled in the Diet committees

No need for the prime minister and ministers to be present at Diet deliberations when they will not be required to respond to interpellations

Chairs of both houses of the Diet and the committees to set the deliberation schedules in order to eliminate using the schedules for political struggle

Introduction of push-button voting in the House of Representatives

Promote elimination of paper documents distributed for deliberations

 

Koizumi held a news conference after submitting the report. He stated: “If things go on like this, we will be wasting time, taxpayer money, and the Diet members’ energy.” He said Nikai responded positively to their demand for the LDP to study Diet reforms. Koizumi and his colleagues plan to build momentum for reform both inside and outside the party.

 

In this connection, a supra-partisan parliamentary union for Lower House reform will be launched on June 28. In addition to Koizumi, Democratic Party for the People Secretary General Motohisa Furukawa, Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party) Secretary General Nobuyuki Baba, and others are acting as founding members of the group. They are planning to promote such reforms as eliminating paper documents distributed for Diet discussions.

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