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A House of Representatives panel on the Constitution held its first meeting in the ongoing session of the Diet on Thursday, resuming talks on a bill to revise the national referendum law.

At the Commission on the Constitution meeting, Yoshitaka Shindo of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said that the bill should be put to a vote soon, allowing discussions to start on restricting commercials in a national referendum on constitutional amendment.

Ikuo Yamahana of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan sounded negative about an early vote on the bill. “We demand discussions to ensure fairness in the revision of the law,” he said.

On commercial restrictions, Yamahana said it is necessary to make rules on online advertisements.

The law revision, jointly proposed by the LDP, its Komeito ally and Nippon Ishin no Kai in June 2018, calls for setting up polling stations at commercial facilities for the convenience of voters in a national referendum.

During the Lower House panel meeting, Komeito’s Kazuo Kitagawa said it is a duty for lawmakers to enact the bill swiftly, while noting that commercials related to constitutional amendment should be self-restricted by political parties.

The Japanese Communist Party’s Seiken Akamine reiterated his party’s opposition to holding a vote on the bill.

Nippon Ishin’s Nobuyuki Baba called for creating a constitutional clause on responding to emergency situations.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the LDP’s Shindo pointed to the need to hold talks promptly on the minimum-required number of participants for holding a plenary meeting of a Diet chamber, as well as on the terms of lawmakers.

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