Cabinet of Japanese PM endorses plan to convene extra Diet session amid opposition to Abe's snap election plans

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-22 16:55:49|Editor: liuxin
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TOKYO, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formally announced on Friday the ruling coalition's plan to convene an extraordinary Diet session on Sept. 28, the outset of which will likely see Abe dissolve the lower house for a snap election.

The government's endorsement of the plan to disband the lower chamber of Japan's bicameral parliament was announced by Japan's top government spokesperson, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, at a meeting of both chambers' steering committees.

The move, however, has drawn staunch criticism from opposition parties.

They believe the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior Komeito party ally approving the premier's plan to dissolve the lower house without making a policy speech, is, in part, to purposely suppress parliamentary debate on a number of contentious issues.

The leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, Seiji Maehara, took aim at the plan saying that the prime minister not making a policy speech or allowing parliamentary deliberations, which would see Abe grilled by the opposition camp on accusations of cronyism, is an "act that ridicules the highest organ of state power."

On Friday, the Democratic Party refused to attend steering committees of the lower and upper houses, in protest of the ruling camp's bullish plan to dissolve the lower house.

The main opposition party a day earlier also abstained from attending steering committees of both houses that were scheduled to hold board meetings.

The meetings were subsequently canceled.

While the ruling coalition maintains that dissolving the lower chamber takes precedence over anything else, including Abe giving a policy speech, the holding of a budget committee meeting, and parliamentary deliberations on a ongoing influence-peddling scandals involving the prime minister, the opposition bloc ardently disagrees.

A member of the Japanese Communist Party on Friday told a meeting that the opposition camp had insisted the government convene an extraordinary session based on a constitutional provision.

The lawmaker stated that dissolving the lower house without holding any session would violate the constitution, Japan's public broadcaster NHK reported.

The main opposition Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party and two other smaller opposition parties maintain that allegations pertaining to cronyism and other such issues that are awaiting debate in parliament must be deliberated on during the extra session.

They have accused the ruling coalition of deliberately attempting to suppress Diet debate on contentious, scandal-linked issues that have plagued the LDP and seen the support rate for Abe's cabinet plummet to historic lows recently.

Despite protests from the opposition camp, LDP Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai said Thursday at a party meeting that Abe will hold a press conference when he returns from New York where he is currently attending the U.N. General Assembly.

Nikai said the press conference would be scheduled for Monday.