The extraordinary Diet session closed Dec. 9 after the Upper House endorsed the opposition-submitted censure motion against Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa and consumer affairs chief Kenji Yamaoka. Was anything else accomplished? The legislature passed the third extra budget of the year for disaster recovery and enacted laws to establish a reconstruction agency and deal with the dual-loan problem burdening people in tsunami-ravaged areas.

But the Diet failed to take action on many other pressing issues, including the reduction of Diet seats (promised by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan), a cut of 7.8 percent to civil servant salaries, and the correction of regional vote value imbalances in Lower House elections — a situation that has been described as a “state of unconstitutionality” by the Supreme Court.

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