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Credibility of Abe’s words still in doubt even after his apology

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s apology for belittling an opposition lawmaker during a recent Diet session has done little to rectify his disturbing disregard of the importance of the legislature and his hostile stance toward opposition parties.

At the outset of the Feb. 17 Lower House Budget Committee session, Abe apologized for heckling Kiyomi Tsujimoto, a lawmaker of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, during a session of the committee last week saying, “You are asking meaningless questions.”

“I apologize for my irregular remarks,” Abe said. “I will discipline myself as prime minister and refrain from making such remarks” from his ministerial seat.

Immediately after his impudent remarks, however, Abe looked unrepentant and defiant, saying he “naturally” thought her questions were indeed “meaningless” since the opposition lawmaker had heaped “abuse” on him.

Abe has switched to an apologetic stance probably because he wants to prevent this disruption from affecting Diet debate on the government’s draft budget for fiscal 2020, which starts in........

© The Asahi Shimbun