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Extension of current regular session of Diet not being considered

JIJI

The government and the ruling camp are not considering an extension of the ongoing regular session of the Diet beyond the scheduled end on June 22, informed sources said Friday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that he will not rush to change the government’s interpretation of the Constitution to allow the exercise of the right to collective self-defense during the current session.

A special parliamentary committee will be set up to discuss the matter when the Diet is out of session if the Cabinet officially decides to change the interpretation late, the sources noted.

The government and the LDP are not sticking to the idea of enabling the Cabinet to make the decision while the Diet is in business, because they need time to persuade New Komeito, the LDP’s coalition partner, to drop its opposition to allowing Self-Defense Forces personnel to fight for other countries, the sources added.

After a private advisory panel to Abe submits its report on the issue of Japan’s exercise of the right to collective self-defense on Tuesday, the LDP will launch full-fledged discussions on the issue with New Komeito.

Another reason for the government to end the current session as scheduled is that legislation deliberations are going relatively smoothly, the sources said.

So far, 30 of the 81 bills sponsored by the government have been enacted.

The government also sees prospects for enacting remaining important bills, including ones aimed at reviewing regional education administration and reorganizing the government-affiliated Nuclear Damage Liability Facilitation Fund, which takes charge of helping Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s compensation payments to those affected by the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Asked about the possibility of extending the current Diet session, LDP Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba told a press conference that he is not considering such a possibility at all.

Tsutomu Sato, the LDP’s parliamentary affairs chief, separately told reporters that there will be no such an extension.

After the envisaged Cabinet decision, parliamentary discussions on the change in the constitutional interpretation as well as matters related to the collective self-defense right will be held while the Diet is closed, Sato said.

In a related development Friday, Diet affairs chiefs of seven opposition parties, including the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan, agreed to call on the ruling camp to give small political parties opportunities to express their opinions and for lawmakers to continue discussions on the issue.