Diet debate on a government-proposed bill to recognize the Hinomaru as the national flag and “Kimigayo” as the national anthem began Tuesday with Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi telling a Lower House plenary session that legal recognition would give the Japanese people the correct understanding of the national symbols.

New Komeito’s support will give the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the Liberal Party, its junior coalition partner, enough votes to secure passage of the bill during the current Diet session, which ends Aug. 13.

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