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Japan Diet to stay in session under possible emergency declaration

  • March 31, 2020
  • , Jiji Press , 7:36 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, March 31 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s ruling bloc plans to keep the Diet, the country’s parliament, in session even if the government declares a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, sources familiar with the matter said.


The Diet is set to deliberate on a proposed supplementary budget, which includes stimulus measures to protect the economy from the impact of the virus, late April.


“The Diet is the highest organ of state power,” a senior official from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s Diet affairs committee said Tuesday.


“It must be kept open until the end,” the LDP official said, denying the possibility that the current Diet session will go into recess if a state of emergency is declared.


Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the LDP’s junior coalition partner, Komeito, said: “There is no need to decide on an across-the-board recess now. The Diet must be functional.”


If the government declares a state of emergency, prefectural governors will be able to request or order restrictions on the use of facilities with large numbers of people.


An LDP official said, “the Diet building is not included” in the list of potential facilities subject to such orders.


However, the ruling bloc plans to limit debates in committees of low priority if the government declares a state of emergency. In such a scenario, only discussions on the supplementary budget bill are expected to be active during the emergency declaration.


The government may put together a second or third supplementary budget, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that the fight against the virus could last long.


“The current Diet session may be extended if the situation isn’t brought under control,” said a senior LDP member in the House of Councillors. The session is currently scheduled to end on June 17.


Meanwhile, secretaries-general from major opposition parties on Tuesday agreed to demand that Abe give sufficient explanations at intensive debates in the budget committees of both chambers of the Diet before declaring a state of emergency.

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