The opposition’s boycott of Diet deliberations entered its second day Tuesday as the ruling camp offered no concessions over its plan to revise the House of Councilors election roster system.
Members of the four major opposition parties boycotted Tuesday’s Lower House session, insisting they will not attend deliberations of most Diet committees unless the ruling bloc retracts its “hardline” attitude on the issue.
The boycott started Monday as the ruling triumvirate — the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party — opened an Upper House special committee to legislate its planned revision of the roster system.
Following a recent election scandal involving former Financial Reconstruction Commission chief Kimitaka Kuze, an LDP member, the LDP-led coalition has proposed a new Upper House election system in which political parties will no longer predetermine the priority of their proportional representative candidates.
The opposition claims the change would benefit the ruling bloc by raising the cost of campaigning, as more broad-based campaigns would be needed.
The ruling bloc submitted a bill to achieve its roster plan to the Upper House on Tuesday afternoon.
During the day’s Lower House plenary session, meanwhile, the ruling camp outlined another bill intended to rebuild the financially strapped public health insurance system in the opposition’s absence.
The bill will increase the burden on elderly people, requiring outpatients over the age of 70 to pay 10 percent of their medical costs. The current system uniformly charges them 530 yen for a medical consultation.
DPJ faction plans talks
About 30 members of the Democratic Party of Japan have agreed to launch a study group, possibly on Oct. 10, to draw up proposals on such issues as public works and the tax system.
Tetsundo Iwakuni, a DPJ vice president and House of Representatives member, will head the group, while Yoshikatsu Nakayama, also a Lower House member, will serve as secretary general, group members said Monday.
Many of the study group’s potential members are elected from the Tokyo area and are critical of the current DPJ leadership. The formation of the group could cause a storm within the party, as the executives believe it will be transformed into a faction, party sources said.
DPJ Lower House members Koichi Yoshida and Muneaki Samejima, who were elected from Tokyo, participated in the group’s preparatory meeting at a Tokyo hotel. “The DPJ is considered to be a party rooted in urban areas, but it has not presented any specific policies,” Iwakuni said at the meeting, adding that the party merely objects to measures suggested by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
The group will compile proposals on public works projects suitable for urban areas and tax reforms aimed at salaried workers living in cities, the meeting’s participants said.
The group will also invite members of other parties to join in the future, they said.
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