• Kyodo


The ruling coalition decided on Monday to extend the extraordinary Diet session by two weeks, giving itself a window to pass bills on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and pension reform before the legislature closes for the year.

The extension means the extra session set to end Wednesday will run through Dec. 14, Wataru Takeshita, Diet affairs chief of the Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters after the secretaries-general of the LDP and its coalition partner, Komeito, met on the issue.

The coalition’s leaders, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is also LDP president, and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, are believed to have agreed on the extension at a meeting on Monday.

After the pension system reform bill was rammed through a Lower House committee last Friday, the ruling camp will attempt to get it passed by the full session of chamber on Tuesday, before sending it to the Upper House.

“The government and ruling parties are determined to enact the pension reform bill in the current session,” Yamaguchi told a party meeting Monday morning.

The Democratic Party, Japanese Communist Party, Liberal Party and Social Democratic Party have all agreed to do what they can to block what they call “the pension-cutting bill” in the Lower House.

The opposition parties say the pension bill, if passed, will reduce pension payouts to already struggling seniors. They also say Abe’s rush to ratify the U.S.-led TPP is pointless, given U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s vow to scrap the pact as soon as he gets into office.

The extended session will end just before Abe’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Dec. 15 in his native Yamaguchi Prefecture. The leaders are expected to discuss progress on a peace treaty that has been delayed for decades by a row over four islands controlled by Russia but claimed by Japan.

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