Four opposition parties have agreed to pressure the ruling bloc into calling a Diet vote on Tuesday over a non-binding motion urging beleaguered lawmaker Muneo Suzuki to resign from the House of Representatives.
The opposition parties said they would not discuss further Diet deliberation schedules until the proposal is discussed Monday with the ruling camp.
On Friday morning, the House of Representatives Budget Committee voted down an opposition-sponsored request that the committee file a criminal complaint of perjury against Suzuki, with members from the majority ruling bloc voting against it.
Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Yukio Edano said the arrest of Suzuki’s top aide in April increased doubts over the veracity of Suzuki’s sworn testimony at the March 11 committee session.
Suzuki’s secretary was arrested over his involvement in suspected bid-ridding in a public works project on Kunashiri Island, a Russian-held island off Hokkaido claimed by Japan.
During his testimony, Suzuki claimed that none of his secretaries were involved in the bidding for any public works projects on Kunashiri.
However, LDP lawmaker Takao Fujii said that the arrest of Suzuki’s secretary is not sufficient evidence to conclude that Suzuki lied in his testimony.
The focus now is whether the ruling coalition will agree to the opposition’s request, as opinions within the triumvirate are split on the issue.
The Liberal Democratic Party, to which Suzuki belonged until he left in March, seems reluctant to vote on the opposition-sponsored motion.
“Personally, I don’t think the arrest of Suzuki’s secretary would meet the condition our party agreed upon in March,” LDP’s Secretary General Taku Yamasaki said.
When the ruling coalition parties voted down a similar request by the opposition in March, the LDP agreed to put it to a vote if a “gravely unlawful act” by Suzuki is revealed at a later date.
Amid pressure from supporters, New Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner, apparently wants to put the motion up for vote in the chamber’s plenary session.
To put a swift end to the matter, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party, another coalition partner, hope the LDP will take the initiative and persuade Suzuki to voluntarily resign from the legislature, a senior member of New Komeito said.
On Friday, LDP heavyweight Mikio Aoki urged Yamasaki to talk Suzuki into resigning as the LDP is responsible over Diet deliberation affairs.
However, Yamasaki expressed reluctance, saying it is not his duty to do so because Suzuki is no longer a member of the party.
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