National / Politics

Japan's ruling bloc to delay submission of bill to revise referendum law

JIJI, Staff Report

The ruling bloc has decided not to submit a bill to revise the country’s referendum law to the ongoing ordinary Diet session, informed sources have said.

The Liberal Democratic Party-led camp apparently hopes to avoid confrontations with opposition forces ahead of the House of Councilors election in the summer, the sources said Friday.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other major opposition parties are increasingly wary over the ruling camp’s possible submission of a bill that would set no limit on TV commercials airing parties’ views on referendums and make referendums to amend the country’s Constitution more convenient for voters.

The opposition is concerned that ruling parties with ample funds to run TV commercials would sway voters. They also fear that providing easy ways to vote — by setting up common polling stations mainly at train stations and commercial facilities as is done for elections of both parliamentary chambers — would work against them.

The LDP had hoped to enact the bill during the ongoing session so that it can present its draft of constitutional amendments to the Diet.

A bill approved at the Commission on the Constitution of the House of Representatives and sent to its counterpart at the House of Councilors is likely to be scrapped unless it is enacted before the Upper House elections.

LDP members in the Upper House are reluctant to see the referendum bill pass the Lower House commission quickly if it means overriding resistance from opposition parties.

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