The 2010 regular session of the Diet closed down for good yesterday, on schedule but with a record amount of its business unfinished. Lawmakers of both Houses immediately scrambled for their prefectures to begin campaigning in earnest, if in advance of the official starting date for the elections period, which will begin on June 24.
The press and commentariat have been critical of the immense number of government bills left lying either out on the table in the House of Representatives or to die in the House of Councillor's docket. Delayed until further notice are the bills on establishing a bureau for national policy strategy and the rules governing the use of dispatched contract labor. Evaporated into nothingness are the bills on revisions to the postal reform law, the climate change bill and the bill revising the way bureaucratic appointments are made. In total, the Hatoyama and Kan administrations managed to push only 56% of the governmment-submitted bills through the Diet in the regular session -- a postwar record low.
Then again, with so many of these bills having being either blatant attempts to buy off consituencies in advance of the House of Councillors elections or simply ill-considered gestures at quickly fulfilling campaign promises made by members of the ruling coalition in 2009, that they are now either delayed or deceased should prompt hurrahs, not sniping and harrumphing.