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Abe’s heckling makes a mockery of Diet as ‘citadel of discourse’

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It is distressing to see bleak, hopeless scenes unfolding in the Diet. While Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made arrogant, huffy retorts and heckled an opposition questioner, a Cabinet member has continued giving confused answers in a faltering manner.

The state of the Diet is a far cry from what it is supposed to be: a bastion of the democratic process for reaching better policy decisions through constructive debate.

The Lower House Budget Committee held an intensive session on Feb. 12 to discuss topics concerning both domestic and international policy issues. It was the ninth day of Budget Committee meetings attended by the prime minister in the current ordinary Diet session.

This is a big change from last year’s extraordinary session, when Abe made all-out efforts to avoid engaging in debate with opposition lawmakers. But his disregard of the importance of the legislature’s function remains as blatant as ever.

This was eloquently demonstrated by his jeering of Kiyomi Tsujimoto, a lawmaker of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. While remaining seated, Abe said, “You are asking meaningless........

© The Asahi Shimbun