Ruling bloc nixes Diet session this month

The ruling coalition on Wednesday effectively turned down the opposition camp’s demand for an extraordinary Diet session to be convened by the end of this month.

During a meeting between Diet affairs chiefs from the ruling bloc and three opposition parties, the opposition side demanded that a Diet session be opened quickly to deliberate contentious pension reform legislation that takes effect Oct. 1, a political donation scandal involving the Japan Dental Association and some Liberal Democratic Party heavyweights, and the Iraq situation.

But LDP Diet affairs chief Hidenao Nakagawa told his opposition counterparts that it will be “quite difficult” for a Diet session to be convened at such an early stage, with a reshuffle of the LDP executive roster and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s Cabinet scheduled next week and Koizumi participating in an Asia-Europe Meeting conference early next month.

Nakagawa said the LDP will convey the opposition’s demand to the Cabinet, adding that a formal response to it will be given next week by new LDP executives. Junji Higashi, Diet affairs chief of New Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the LDP, said the Diet session will likely be held starting Oct. 12.