Extraordinary Diet session postponed / Cabinet reshuffle, Abe's overseas trips push opening back to mid-September
The Yomiuri Shimbun
The government and the ruling coalition decided Thursday to reschedule the start of the next extraordinary Diet session, postponing the opening of the session from Aug. 31 to mid-September.
Under the rescheduled plan, the Diet session is expected to begin Sept. 10 or anytime after that, following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's return to Japan from Sydney, where he will attend a summit meeting of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum member states.
Speaking to reporters Friday morning, Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa said: "At this time, the government and the ruling coalition haven't agreed on a date to convene [the next extraordinary Diet session]. It will be officially decided by the new executive members," citing the possibility that the final decision will be made after Aug. 27 when the LDP's three top positions will be appointed.
Although Abe had been preparing for the next Diet session under the initially planned start date, some LDP members in the House of Councillors urged him to reschedule the date.
On Thursday evening, secretaries general and Diet Affairs Committee chairpersons of the LDP and New Komeito held a meeting in Tokyo to discuss the scheduling of the upcoming Diet session. They all agreed that its convening date needs to be discussed again.
After the meeting, one of its attendees told reporters, "Within the government, there was a plan to begin the extraordinary Diet session on Aug. 31, but realistically, it's impossible."
Abe was hoping to convene the next Diet session at an early stage to secure enough time to deliberate the bill to extend the Antiterrorism Law, which will expire on Nov. 1.
But some members of the LDP and New Komeito in the upper house opposed the idea, saying that new cabinet members appointed in the Aug. 27 cabinet reshuffle would not have enough time to prepare for the Diet session.
In response, Abe decided to postpone the session...
Not exactly the best advertisement for the new, more deliberate, inclusive and cautious Abe Shinzō, is it? Would it really have killed him to ask around first before deciding the fall schedule?
In truth, the excuses of the Diet members and party power players sound flimsy--but Abe needed to know their objections before divulging his plans to the press.
Oh well. Chalk up another failure for the "if I just keep flapping my arms, people will think I am flying" theory.