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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its two smaller allies on Oct. 24 failed to resolve differences over whether Article 6 of the Cabinet Law should be revised to allow the prime minister to issue direct orders to officials of various ministries.Direct orders would be made when swift action is needed and there is no time to consult with ministers or obtain Cabinet approval.The LDP said that a lesson should be learned from the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995 and that the legal revision is necessary to allow the prime minister to swiftly deal with matters in cases of emergency. Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party and New Party Sakigake said that the proposed amendment could lead to giving the prime minister excessive power that could result in terrible abuses such as those that led to Japan’s aggression before World War II, SDP Secretary General Shigeru Ito said.Article 6 of the Cabinet Law, enacted in 1947, stipulates that the prime minister command and supervise each administrative section and that the supervision be based on policies decided by the Cabinet. As a compromise, the three parties started considering revisions related to disaster control that would give the prime minister authority to issue direct orders and enable him to quickly handle post-natural disaster matters, Ito told reporters.

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