Japan's Abe draws flak for plans to skip speech before dissolving lower house, dodge cronyism scandal

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-21 18:42:07|Editor: Song Lifang
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TOKYO, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will reportedly dissolve the lower house of parliament and call a snap election on Sept. 28 when parliament is scheduled to convene for an extraordinary Diet session, local media quoted ruling party sources as saying Thursday.

According to Kyodo News, Abe, however, will not deliver a policy speech or deliberate issues on his speech or issues pertinent to the ruling party, including ethical ones, that have plagued the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), of which Abe is also president, and is also under fire for.

The opposition camp has expressed its indignation at the prime minister's plans to skip the speech and deliberations, with Democratic Party leader Seiji Maehara on Thursday slamming Abe's plan as making a mockery of the highest political process.

"It is an act that ridicules the highest organ of state power," Maehara was quoted as saying.

On behalf of four opposition parties, Democratic Party Secretary General Atsushi Oshima lodged a strong protest with his LDP opposite number Toshihiro Nikai over Abe's decision, sources close to the matter said Thursday.

They added that the Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party and two other smaller opposition parties are also in agreement that Diet debates must take place, as they believe the prime minister is attempting to dodge being grilled on an ongoing cronyism scandal.

Oshima on Thursday asked Nakai to ensure Abe delivers a speech and allow party members to quiz the prime minister on it as well as hold a Budget Committee session.

In a press briefing after the meeting between Oshima and Nikai, LDP Diet affairs chief Hiroshi Moriyama, who was in attendance, said, as quoted by local media, "Dissolution of the lower house should have first priority, even though it is a matter of course to hold deliberations once the extraordinary Diet session starts.

Sept. 28 is the date that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to dissolve the lower house of parliament to call a snap election, with voters going to the polls on Oct. 22.

Official campaigning for the national poll has been slated to kick off prior to that on Oct. 10.

Abe is expected to cite security issues and a planned consumption tax hike among his reasons for calling a snap election when he returns.

The opposition camp has criticized Abe's move to call a snap election, however, accusing the Japanese leader of merely trying to escape from the influence-peddling scandals he is currently implicated in and for engineering his continued stay in power.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, whose Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites First party) won a sweeping victory in the Tokyo metropolitan assembly in July, defeating the LDP, which is widely regarded as a barometer for the future direction of national politics, has said that she cannot understand the logic or reason for Abe's calling for a snap election.

Also taking aim at Abe's autocratic moves, Chairman of the Democratic Party's Diet affairs committee Kazunori Yamanoi has stated that it is "preposterous" for Abe to call a snap election just because he senses the ruling block can leverage more power in the current political climate.