• Kyodo


The Democratic Party is considering submitting a no-confidence motion — possibly Tuesday — against the farm minister who made a series of gaffes related to parliamentary proceedings over whether to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, political sources said Saturday.

The minister, Yuji Yamamoto, has come under fire since saying last month that a senior LDP official could decide to “force the passage” of the TPP legislation through the Diet. He later called the remark “a joke.”

After Yamamoto made that and other remarks, the DP urged him to resign. The main opposition party now says it will introduce the motion jointly with three other parties if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling bloc tries to steamroll approval for the pact through a plenary session of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

But as the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito coalition holds the majority in the chamber, the ruling party is expected to defeat the motion if submitted.

On Friday, the LDP-led ruling camp pushed TPP ratification and related bills through a special Lower House committee after the opposition camp walked out of the chamber in protest at Yuji Yamamoto remaining in the post of minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Abe’s government has made swift ratification of the trade pact, its key goal for the current extraordinary Diet session set to end on Nov. 30.

Japan signed the TPP deal with the United States and 10 other Pacific Rim nations in February.

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