As the political battle over two contentious government-sponsored security bills at the Diet enters its final stage, a propaganda war broke out Wednesday between the government and opposition parties.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga maintained Wednesday that a voting session that was being arranged to pass the bills through an Upper House committee later in the day should not be called kyoko saiketsu (forcible voting).
“In addition to the ruling parities, now three opposition parties are expected to join the voting session. It’s crystal clear it won’t be kyoko saiketsu,” Suga told a news conference in the afternoon.
The term, often used by media outlets when the ruling camp bulldozes a bill through the Diet amid intense opposition, has connotations of legislation being forcibly enacted despite “legitimate” protest from opposition parties.
The ruling camp and the government detest seeing it in headlines, fearing it may give voters a negative impression and help bring down their approval ratings in media polls.
To water down the impression that the government is ignoring public opinion, the ruling camp desperately tried to win the backing of the three tiny opposition parties in the Upper House, namely Jisedai no To (Party for Future Generations), the Assembly to Energize Japan, and Shinto Kaikaku (New Renaissance Party).
The three parties, which agreed Wednesday to vote for the bills, have a total of 14 seats of the 242-member chamber.
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito coalition have 133 seats.
After the expected passage of the bills by the committee, they are expected to be enacted at the chamber’s plenary session Thursday night or early Friday morning.
Various media polls have shown about 60 percent of voters are against the legislation, which is designed to expand the scope of Self-Defense Forces missions overseas.