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The ruling bloc began deliberations in the Lower House on an anticorruption bill Thursday as opposition lawmakers continued their boycott.

During Thursday’s plenary session, the ruling triumvirate — the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and New Conservative Party — explained the contents of their jointly proposed bill to ban lawmakers from receiving money in return for political favors.

All the opposition parties — including the Democratic Party of Japan, Japanese Communist Party, Social Democratic Party and Liberal Party — have been boycotting Diet sessions to protest the ruling camp’s move to revise the way in which Upper House members are elected.

The opposition parties are also critical of the ruling bloc’s anticorruption bill, which they say has numerous loopholes.

They had earlier submitted a stricter draft, but it was not discussed during Thursday’s session due to their absence.

The battle of wills is expected to continue with neither side showing any indication of compromising and the ruling bloc poised to begin deliberations on other bills.

Deliberations on a bill to revise the Juvenile Law are expected to begin at a Lower House committee as early as today, coalition sources said.

As for the contentious bill to revise the election system, the ruling parties are trying to introduce a system under which voters would be able to choose either a specific candidate or a party in the proportional representation portion of Upper House polls.

Proportional representation assigns seats to parties based on the percentage of votes each gets and is heavily relied on by small parties whose politicians lack the funding of their counterparts in the LDP.

The opposition is screaming that the revision would make campaigning far more costly, as each candidate would have to campaign nationwide to appeal to voters.

Under the current system, each party determines in advance the priority of candidates running for proportional representation seats.

Leaders of the DPJ, JCP, SDP and the Liberal Party have taken to the streets in recent days to make a joint appeal to voters against the ruling camp’s “tyranny.”

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