• Kyodo News


The House of Councilors election, previously expected to take place July 22, may be pushed back seven days as senior officials in the ruling coalition lean toward extending the Diet session by 12 days, according to political sources.

The legislative session is scheduled to end June 23. Some coalition officials have proposed a five-day extension to ensure enactment of key laws that would help their fortunes in the Upper House election, saying a short extension would leave the widely expected date of the election unchanged.

A five-day extension, however, may not be enough to pass a bill to revise the National Public Service Law, some senior coalition officials say, hence the possibility of a 12-day extension.

Though the bill is widely criticized for being riddled with loopholes, it is meant to resolve problems stemming from the much-criticized “amakudari” practice of postretirement hiring of bureaucrats in government affiliates.

In addition, they believe it necessary to get legislation to raise the minimum wage enacted during the current session. The bill is one of three labor-related legislative items under deliberation in the House of Representatives.

However, some ruling coalition officials are opposed to the one-week delay in the Upper House election because it would force them to reschedule their campaigns.

It will be the first national election since Prime Minister and Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe took office in September.

Abe intends to make a final decision on the length of the extension as early as midweek, the sources said.

On Friday, LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa and Toshihiro Nikai, chairman of the party’s Diet affairs committee, agreed to try to send the labor-related bills to the Upper House during an extended Diet session.

The dominant view within the ruling bloc is that passage of the labor-related bills by the Lower House is likely to come as early as Thursday, and to ensure passage of at least the public service and labor-related bills, the session must be extended by as much as 12 days.

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