The government hopes to submit bills to the next ordinary Diet session to abolish the current system of having bureaucrats, instead of state ministers, answer lawmakers’ questions during Diet deliberations, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said Thursday.

The bills would also introduce a more powerful vice minister system in government ministries, he said.

In a bid to strengthen political influence in the ministries, the moves were proposed by the Liberal Party during alliance talks between Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, who heads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and Liberal Party leader Ichiro Ozawa.

Nonaka said that once the LDP and Liberal Party agree on these issues, the government will submit bills to bring about such Diet reforms. “Since they are good policies, we should implement them fast,” Nonaka said.

During Diet debate, ministers usually respond to questions of Diet members, but bureaucrats from the ministries often respond to questions that require technical knowledge of the issue.

Nonaka said that even after the system is abolished, some government officials should still be allowed to attend Diet discussions under some kind of status so that lawmakers can refer to their opinions.

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