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The opposition camp’s boycott of all Diet sessions went into its ninth day Friday and shows no sign of letting up. The Lower House Budget Committee, which started deliberation on the fiscal 2000 national budget Thursday, adjourned Friday morning immediately after opening because all the opposition interpellators failed to appear. The Diet affairs chiefs of the three ruling parties — the Liberal Democratic Party, Liberal Party and New Komeito — visited their opposition counterparts later in the day, trying in vain to break the deadlock. “We, the opposition camp, believe that this situation is abnormal, while the ruling camp says it’s normal. As long as this perception gap exists, things cannot move forward,” said Tatsuo Kawabata, Diet affairs chief of the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition force. Meanwhile, LDP Secretary General Yoshiro Mori told reporters Friday morning that the ruling triumvirate will followw the scheduled Diet agenda “with all due solemnity” despite the opposition’s boycott. The opposition parties have been boycotting all Diet deliberations since Jan. 25 as part of a protest over the ruling coalition’s legislative railroading tactics, symbolized by its recent handling of a bill to reduce the number of Lower House seats. The bill has been approved by both Diet chambers with little deliberation and in the opposition’s absence. The opposition parties are continuing their united front and calling for dissolution of the Lower House — where 70 percent of the seats are occupied by the ruling bloc — and a general election.

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