• Kyodo

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Opposition parties on Sunday demanded an extension of the current Diet session beyond its scheduled end on June 16 in order to discuss measures to contain the pandemic.

Although the ruling coalition plans to close the ordinary Diet session as scheduled, Jun Azumi, from the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said more time is needed to debate COVID-19 vaccination programs and whether to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics starting on July 23.

“It is not realistic to close the Diet session” when opposition parties are continuing to question Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s pandemic response and the decision to press ahead with the Tokyo Games despite the COVID-19 state of emergency, Azumi said on an NHK program.

On the program, Diet chiefs of the Democratic Party for the People and the Japanese Communist Party called for the session’s extension and for an extra budget to finance additional assistance measures for people hit hard by the pandemic.

Azumi’s counterpart with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Hiroshi Moriyama, said Suga’s administration will concentrate on its coronavirus response as the current session ends, adding that a reserve fund in this fiscal year’s budget is enough if additional anti-virus or relief steps become necessary.

Yosuke Takagi, Diet chief of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito, said an extra Diet session should be convened if another extra budget to deal with the pandemic is ever needed.

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