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The ruling and opposition parties agreed Oct. 9 to return Diet proceedings to normal next week after the Liberal Democratic Party agreed to have a scandal-tainted oil wholesaler testify before the Diet before the end of November.Directors of the Lower House Budget Committee decided to reopen deliberations Oct. 13. The committee’s session has been stalled since opposition parties began a boycott Oct. 7 over the delay in summoning oil dealer Junichi Izui to testify over donations he claims to have made to senior LDP lawmakers.The LDP was under pressure to promise that Izui, who has been indicted on charges of tax evasion, bribery and fraud, would give testimony to the Diet. Shinshinto, the largest opposition party, still wants the testimony to be held by the end of this month and plans to press the LDP further on the issue. The LDP, headed by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, has been concerned that any substantial delay in the Diet’s proceedings might threaten pending legislative items that it hopes to pass during the current Diet session, including legislation on fiscal reform.Izui, president of Osaka-based Izui Sekiyu Shokai, is now on trial after a series of scandals were unearthed late last year. Izui told a press conference in early September that he donated political funds to six LDP members, including Taku Yamasaki, chief of the LDP’s Policy Affairs Research Council, and the late Michio Watanabe, a former foreign minister and boss of a factional group to which Yamasaki belongs.The same day, Yamasaki filed a libel suit against the publisher of monthly magazine Bungei Shunju, which ran an article written by Izui. In the article, Izui alleged that he had helped Yamasaki become construction minister in the administration of then Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa in November 1991. Yamasaki is demanding a printed apology and 10 million yen in damages from the publisher of Bungei Shunju for the article.Yamasaki told reporters that he will explain other points Izui commented on in connection with his alleged political donations “in an appropriate place,” indicating that he will speak before the Diet if requested.

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