The ruling coalition proposed Thursday that a 53-day extraordinary Diet session be opened Oct. 12, brushing aside the opposition’s demand that the session begin next week and run for more than two months.

The opposition had urged the Cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to convene the Diet by the end of September to deliberate on pension reform before the government’s contentious reform plan takes effect Friday.

But Hidenao Nakagawa, Diet affair’s chief of the Liberal Democratic Party, said the LDP is not ready due to a recent change of its executive staff. He said the Diet cannot convene next week because Koizumi is planning an overseas trip to attend an Asia-Europe Meeting conference.

Nakagawa said the ruling bloc is considering running the session through Dec. 3 to deliberate legislation on judicial reform, the child-care and nursing-care leave systems, government employee salaries and endorsement of the Japan-Mexico free-trade pact.

The opposition had asked the ruling coalition to move forward the opening date so there would be more time for the Diet to discuss issues such as pension reform, a revision of the Political Funds Control Law, a political donation scandal involving the Japan Dental Association and LDP heavyweights, and a corruption case involving the Social Insurance Agency.

Yoshio Hachiro, Diet affairs chief of the Democratic Party of Japan, said the DPJ will submit its own pension reform bill and further legislation pertaining to a revision of the Political Funds Control Law.

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