• SHARE

Leaders of the ruling coalition agreed Monday to extend the Diet session by 42 days to July 31 to pave the way for enactment of pending government bills.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party, and leaders of the LDP’s two coalition partners met at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence to agree on the extension of the 150-day Diet session, which was originally scheduled to end Wednesday.

Coalition leaders were set to propose the extension to Lower House Speaker Tamisuke Watanuki on Tuesday, and the Lower House is expected to approve it Wednesday with support from the ruling camp, Diet sources say.

The 42-day extension is aimed at getting “all of the remaining bills approved” before the session ends, said Koizumi, New Komeito Leader Takenori Kanzaki and New Conservative Party leader Takeshi Noda in a joint statement.

Of the key remaining government-submitted bills, however, the ruling tripartite is expected to focus on two — one to push for postal service deregulation and one concerning medical insurance reforms — during the extended session, observers say.

The ruling camp will probably have to give up on the other two key bills — emergency defense legislation and protection of personal information — and carry them over to the next session in light of persistent criticism from the public and the opposition camp.

Government leaders as well as LDP Secretary General Taku Yamasaki initially sought a longer extension, but their request was turned down by the key figure Mikio Aoki of the Upper House, who is also an influential member of the LDP’s largest faction led by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW