Diet debates to feature bills related to labor reform


Legislation related to labor reform is expected to be a focus of debate during a 150-day ordinary session of the Diet set to begin Monday.

The legislation seeks to introduce stricter restrictions on overtime and exempt highly skilled professionals from work-hour regulations.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eager to pass the legislation to achieve what he calls a historic reform of the country’s labor-related legal system. But opposition parties gave criticized the legislation for allowing employers to avoid overtime payments.

The parliamentary session will also cover Civil Code revisions to lower the legal age of adulthood from 20 to 18, a bill to introduce casinos into the country, and the government’s fiscal 2017 supplementary budget and fiscal 2018 full budget.

The government aims to pass the extra budget as early as Feb. 1, before proceeding to discussions on the full budget.

On the opening day of the parliamentary session, Abe and three of his Cabinet ministers are scheduled to deliver policy speeches in plenary meetings of both chambers.

Q&A sessions by party representatives are scheduled to take place for three days starting Wednesday. Debate on the extra budget is expected to start on Jan. 29.