The Liberal Democratic Party, its junior coalition partner, the Liberal Party, and New Komeito agreed Thursday to try to conclude by the end of the month discussions on legislation on the controversial issue of inspecting unidentified ships, party officials said.

During Lower House deliberations on bills related to revised Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines, the three parties agreed to remove the clause concerning ship inspections — one of the biggest points of contention — from the bills and make it a separate piece of legislation, thus enabling the remainder of the bills to clear the chamber.

Ship inspection legislation was to be drawn up for passage by the end of the current Diet session. The guidelines bills are now being discussed by a special Upper House committee and are expected to be passed by a plenary session of the Upper House as early as next week.

On Thursday, the LDP-
Liberal Party coalition and New Komeito decided to start holding intensive discussions next week on legislation concerning the inspection of unidentified ships, aiming for an agreement on the contents of the new law by the end of the month, according to Yuya Niwa, deputy chief of the LDP’s policy affairs council.

In drafting the bill, the three parties will debate such issues as the purpose and preconditions of such activities, Niwa said.

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