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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 June 14 - 20  > With Diet session ending, it’s high time to change structure of power in parliament
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2017 June 14 - 20 TOP3 [POLITICS]
editorial 

With Diet session ending, it’s high time to change structure of power in parliament

June 18, 2017
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The current ordinary session of the Diet, which was convened in January, is scheduled to end on June 18. During the session, the Abe government had the “anti-conspiracy” bill steamrollered through the Diet after using an unusual “interim report” tactic of skipping voting in a prior committee meeting in breach of Diet rules. The government keeps ignoring public requests to thoroughly investigate the two scandals in which Prime Minister Abe Shinzo used his influence to assist the private school corporations “Moritomo Gakuen” and “Kake Gakuen”. Public anger is growing against the PM Abe-led coalition which repeatedly used its force of numbers in the Diet to implement anti-people policies. In May, PM Abe declared that he will seek to change Article 9 of the Constitution. Abe’s hawkish ambitions provoked public criticism. Five months of the ordinary Diet session highlighted the Abe government’s high-handed, secretive, and reckless stance. Several Cabinet members made abusive remarks, which points to the moral collapse among ministers. It is becoming clear that the Abe government is unsuited to lead the country.

Abe’s abnormally imperious attitude is inseparable from his intent to draw a curtain on the scandals. It is alleged that in accordance with Abe’s wishes, the Cabinet Office pressured the Education Ministry to approve Kake Gakuen’s plan to establish a veterinary school. Internal documents of the Education Ministry supported the allegation. The documents included the phrases such as “Prime Minister’s intent”. Given that Kake Gakuen’s president is Abe’s close friend, this is a serious scandal where Abe distorts the decision-making processes of the government. The general public is calling for a thorough investigation into the matter. Without responding to this call, the Abe government avoided extending the Diet session with the aim of putting an end to Diet discussions on this issue. It is highly suspect for the Abe government to refuse to fulfill its accountability.

It is also significant that the government has yet to release a report on another allegation that the Defense Ministry concealed daily reports on the Japanese Self-Defense Forces units in UN Peacekeeping Operations in South Sudan.

The Abe government is becoming more and more reckless in regard to issues related to the Constitution, livelihoods, economy, and all other issues. This is because it has no choice but to resort to coercive, secret, and deceptive measures. The government, which ignores the general public and neglects to make rational discussions on policies, has no viable future.

In the current Diet session, opposition parties are strengthening cooperation to confront the Abe government, and the joint effort of opposition parties and concerned citizens is growing in strength and influence. The need now is to increase the movement to change the structure of power in the Diet.

Past related issues:
> Opinion poll on ‘Kake Gakuen’ scandal: 70% are not convinced by gov’t explanation [June 6, 2017]
> Ruling coalition railroads ‘anti-conspiracy’ bill through Lower House [May 24, 2017]
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