By Ogi Yuta
Only two months remain in the current ordinary Diet session, which is the first ordinary session since Kishida took office.
The Diet session, which ends on June 15, has been “amicable,” with little confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties. This is uncharacteristic for a Diet session leading up to an Upper House election.
Deliberations on bills have moved along at the pace desired by the administration and the ruling parties. The Asahi Shimbun analyzed this “Kishida way” of managing the Diet.
First, it is noteworthy that the government bills and the opposition parties’ counterproposals have been deliberated in parallel at the current Diet session.
The Asahi Shimbun found that there were only two cases under the Abe administration (2020) and three cases under the Suga administration (2021) where opposition parties’ counterproposals were deliberated together with government bills at the Lower House plenary sessions during an ordinary Diet session. During this first Diet session under Kishida, eight bills were deliberated in parallel with counterproposals, a significant increase.
To highlight their position and their difference in opinion with the administration, opposition parties often submit counterproposals to the Diet and request they be deliberated. In most cases, however, the administration “leaves such counterproposals unaddressed” because addressing them might help the opposition party make a case. The Kishida administration, however, has dared to respond to the opposition parties’ requests for deliberation.
“By welcoming the opposition parties’ counterproposals, we can move forward with the deliberation of bills smoothly,” said a senior official of the LDP Diet Affairs Committee. “And if opposition parties vote in favor of the government bills, that is even better.” The government and the ruling parties are apparently turning the opposition parties’ demands against them.
The economic security bill, which was expected to result in a confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties, was discussed in parallel with the counterproposal of Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party]. In the end, the amendment proposal of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDPJ) was also discussed. In the end, both Nippon Ishin and the CDPJ voted in favor of the government bill in the Lower House.
The CDPJ is troubled by this because the party was unable to prove its importance as a “party that proposes policies” due to the “ability of the Kishida administration to listen.”
According to the most recent Asahi Shimbun public opinion poll, the approval rating for the Kishida Cabinet is at a record high. On the other hand, the CDPJ shows no signs of gaining the favor of the people.
“The government and the ruling parties are pretending to listen to the opposition parties’ opinions (in the parallel deliberations). The administration wants to put the opposition parties in a position where they have no other option but to vote in favor of the government’s bills,” said a senior CDPJ official. (Abridged)