Article 53 of the Constitution specifies: ‘the Cabinet may determine to convoke extraordinary sessions of the Diet. When a quarter or more of the total members of either House makes the demand, the Cabinet must determine on such convocation’. The Abe government has refused the demand. Doesn’t the rejection violate the Constitution?
SO MANY PROBLEMS LEFT BEHIND AND GOVERNMENT REFUSED DIET SESSIONS ? THAT VIOLATES CONSTITUTION
The five opposition parties, namely, the Democratic Party of Japan, the Ishin-no-To (=Japan Innovation Party), the Communist Party, the Seikatsu-no-To (=The People’s Life Party) and the Social Democratic Party, presented October 21 to Speaker of the House of Representatives Ohshima Tadamori a letter demanding to open extraordinary sessions of the Diet. It was endorsed by 124 lawmakers of those five opposition parties and one independent of the Lower House.
The administration, however, has rejected the request on account of a tight schedule of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo who should visit foreign countries. Reportedly, the government will set earlier the date of opening of the regular sessions of the Diet, which usually starts late January.
Problems on War Legislation
The absence of extraordinary sessions has been brought about after 10 years since 2005 when they were not convoked. It is the ruling parties and the government that owes responsibility to hold extraordinary sessions of the Diet.
As for the controversial war legislation enforced to pass in the last Diet session, the government has a duty to reply to the public concerning their doubts and indignation over its unconstitutionality. The proceedings of the Special Committee of the House of Councilors described as ‘not audible’ at the time of adoption of the bills. People see that the legislation was not made in a due process.
There has been proven another trouble on the legislation. In the Cabinet Legislation Bureau official documents are absent on how the controversial right of collective self-defense was approved after interpretation of the Constitution had been altered. The Abe government has changed its reading in a completely opposite way of the established one maintained for long time by the Legislation Bureau. The fact is extremely unusual.
The Cabinet Legislation Bureau has a task to explain minutely to the public.
Broad Agreement in TPP Negotiation
Early October the Trans-Pacific Partnership (=TPP) agreement, a free trade agreement designed to protect interests of the largest transnational corporations, was concluded. The government must, firstly, disclose negotiation content in the Diet. Nevertheless, it insists ratification will be made in the next ordinary session of the coming year. That is beyond a normal sense.
The Abe government renewed the cabinet October 7 and the prime minister stated objectives of his new policy, called New Three Arrows Initiative. He has raised a slogan, ‘a society in which all the 100 million people could work actively’, but not elaborated it in his policy speech. No one knows about it concretely. Several key ministers have kept previous positions and almost a half of them have been replaced. The government must let the new cabinet members express their policy.
Scandals around New Ministers
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Moriyama Hiroshi faces disgrace. He represents a local office of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to which several business groups, which were prosecuted by the Kagoshima prefectural authority, had made donations amounting in total 7 million Yen. The minister has pledged to return the money.
Another corrupt cases; dirty money concerning Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hase Hiroshi, a distribution of her portrait calendars by Minister in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Shimajiri Aiko and a reported ‘robbery of women’s underwear’ by a weekly of Minister of Reconstruction Takagi Tsuyoshi. These scandals have emerged around the newly appointed members. The choice must be reviewed.
The Diet has responsibilities to investigate these suspicions on ministers. The ruling parties and government cannot flee from the duties.
November 3, 2015