Giving up on their summer vacation, the three ruling parties agreed on Monday to try to move up the legislature’s ordinary schedule and convene an extraordinary Diet session in August.
The secretaries general of the ruling triumvirate — the Liberal Democratic Party, New Conservative Party and New Komeito — met at the Diet and agreed to work together toward calling for the session next month, so that Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori’s newly reshuffled administration can swiftly give the Diet an account of the outcome of the Group-of Eight summit to be held July 21-23.
“We shared the same sort of view on the timing,” said Takeshi Noda, secretary general of the NCP. Noda added that he personally thinks the session should be convened no later than mid-August.
The forwarded schedule of the extraordinary Diet session, which many LDP lawmakers had expected to begin in September, came after the opposition complained that the ruling bloc is trying to avoid handling recent contentious issues, including the government’s bailout of a department store operator and a bribery scandal involving a former LDP minister.
At the outset of the next parliamentary session, lawmakers are expected to discuss the government’s plan to forgive debts held by the giant department store chain Sogo Co.
In connection with the construction bribery scandal, the three parties agreed to jointly submit a bill to the Diet this year to ban lawmakers from receiving goods and money in return for political favors.
As a similar anticorruption law already exists, the contents of the planned bill have yet to be discussed by the three parties, according to New Komeito Secretary General Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, who is an ardent advocate of the new regulation.