As discussions on administrative reform continue within a government council, the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake agreed Aug. 19 to call for creation of an environment ministry with stronger power to administer environmental issues such as waste, chemical pollution and global environmental problems.

The two non-Cabinet allies of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said that the current Environment Agency has little power over environmental issues administered by other ministries. At present, waste issues are covered by the Health and Welfare Ministry, and forestry concerns are partly dealt with by the Forestry Agency.

Policy chiefs of the two parties also said they want the environment ministry to be in charge of energy issues to cope with climate change problems.

The two parties will also discuss and compile opinions on other administrative reform topics, such as financial reform. The ruling allies are scheduled to discuss administrative reform issues later this month after the blue-ribbon panel compiles an interim report.

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