A majority of lawmakers in the ruling coalition want to postpone debate on the war contingency bills until next year.
Consensus is growing within the ruling coalition — the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito and the New Conservative Party — that the extraordinary Diet session this fall should focus on economic measures rather than the set of three bills governing Japan’s response to a foreign military attack.
“The extraordinary Diet session should put the most importance on economic and deflation measures that concern people the most,” former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, an LDP member of the House of Representatives, recently said.
Other key figures such as Mikio Aoki, the LDP’s House of Councilors caucus leader, and NCP leader Takeshi Noda stress that the next Diet session should prioritize economic issues.
The upcoming session, to be convened in October, is likely to focus on several contentious issues, such as North Korea’s abductions of Japanese, the normalization talks with Pyongyang, and a possible U.S. military attack on Iraq.
Considering the circumstances, there is no room for slow and careful deliberation on the war contingency bills, which were submitted to the ordinary Diet session in April, a senior LDP lawmaker said.
Despite the nation’s continuing stagnation, the government has been aiming to pass the bills in the upcoming session.
“The measures to tackle deflation and the emergency issue are different,” Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has said.
In fact, the government, centering on the Cabinet Secretariat, is now mapping out a legislative framework to protect Japan in the event of a military emergency. The laws would include rules for compensation in the event that land must be confiscated for emergency use.
The government is also explaining the outlines of a draft modification for the war contingency bills to senior ruling bloc officials in a bid to ensure their passage.
The ruling and opposition blocs have made little progress on the matters, partly because the Democratic Party of Japan, the largest opposition party, is focused on its presidential election, slated for Monday.
A set of bills to protect human rights and personal information was also carried over at the ordinary Diet session. Pessimism prevails for its passage in the upcoming session, however, as opposition parties are unlikely to accept the modified versions proposed by the ruling parties.
Opposition parties and the mass media have criticized the bills, fearing they could violate freedom of expression.
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