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Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Wednesday the Diet should pass during its current session a bill to abolish a privileged pension system for lawmakers.

Koizumi apparently hopes to use the abolition of the system to get voters to accept a pending pension reform package that would force them to pay higher premiums and receive lower benefits, analysts said.

But the remark came under fire from senior lawmakers of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, who is also an LDP lawmaker, said at a news conference that the executive branch is in no position to intervene in any decision on the lawmaker pension system, whose fate should be left up to the legislature.

The secretaries general and Diet affairs committee chairmen of the two governing parties agreed in a morning meeting that the issue is a Diet matter and should be considered at a soon-to-be-established advisory panel for the House of Representatives speaker and the House of Councilors president, lawmakers said.

The panel is to take about six months to make recommendations on the matter.

New Komeito Diet Policy Committee Chairman Junji Higashi voiced his opposition to the abolition before reporters, saying it would discourage people from becoming politicians.

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