The Upper House is set to start its deliberations next week on the government's security legislation, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition pushed through the Lower House in mid-July despite all the unanswered questions and doubts raised in the Diet deliberations. Those questions must be fully addressed in the upper chamber — even though the ruling camp may now have effectively secured the enactment of the legislation.
Neither the ruling parties or the opposition camp should dare consider letting the bills sit idle without a vote in the Upper House. If 60 days pass without a vote, the legislation is automatically deemed rejected by the chamber, an outcome that the Lower House can override in a re-vote with the two-thirds majority of the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito alliance before the current Diet session closes on Sept. 27. Such a scenario, if it happened, would raise doubts about the very necessity of the upper chamber.
Media opinion polls taken before and after the Lower House vote almost unanimously show that the legislation is opposed by a majority of the public, with about 80 percent of pollees saying that the government has not given sufficient explanations about the bills. In a series of polls taken by Kyodo News, public opposition to the bills increased as the Diet deliberations progressed — a clear indication that doubts about the legislation deepened the more it was discussed. Abe should seriously take the sharp plunge in the approval ratings of his Cabinet — which in some polls were surpassed by disapproval ratings for the first time since he returned to the helm of government in 2012 — as a clear message from the public that it's not convinced of the need to enact the legislation.