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Japan opposition parties call for early Diet session

Tokyo, Aug. 18 (Jiji Press)–Japanese opposition parties Thursday requested the government to convene an extraordinary session of the Diet, the country’s parliament, as soon as possible, based on Article 53 of the Constitution.


The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People, the Japanese Communist Party, Reiwa Shinsengumi, the Social Democratic Party and parliamentary group Yushi no Kai submitted their written request to Hiroyuki Hosoda, speaker of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber.


They said the Diet should examine ties the controversial Unification Church has with members of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.


On top of issues associated with the church, a cult founded in South Korea in the 1950s by the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, they underscored the importance of discussing the planned state funeral of assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the novel coronavirus spread, soaring prices and national security matters.


Earlier in the day, Sumio Mabuchi, the CDP’s Diet affairs chief, told a press conference that “Kishida should fulfill his accountability” about ties with the church, now officially called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.


“Ministers under suspicion should also clearly state their policies and make themselves available for interpellations” during the proposed Diet session, he noted.


Mabuchi also said the session should be held until the fiscal 2023 budget is compiled in December.


Meanwhile, another major opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Party) did not take part in the request, which informed sources said is solely aimed at putting pressure on the Kishida administration and the ruling coalition because they know it will be turned down on the grounds of the tight political schedule including Kishida’s foreign travel.


The ruling bloc will instead hold off-session discussions, which have already been agreed with the opposition side, the sources said, adding that the extra session would be convened after the state funeral slated for Sept. 27.


The supreme law’s article states that the cabinet must decide to call the Diet into an extra session if requested to do so by at least a quarter of all members of either chamber of the Diet. But when to convene it is left up to the decision of the cabinet.

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