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Rigorous debate needed in Budget Committees of both houses

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12.10.2019

The first round of debate in the current extraordinary Diet session ended on Oct. 11 at the Lower House Budget Committee, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other Cabinet members answered opposition questions over various issues.

It was the first meeting of the Budget Committee of either house in about half a year, too long a recess for the principal watchdog of the executive branch.

To restore the Diet’s ability to debate policy issues in a way that fulfills its mandate, the Abe administration needs to overcome its reluctance to disclose sensitive information and avoid head-on debate over politically delicate issues.

A total of 10 lawmakers representing a newly formed joint parliamentary group of opposition parties questioned Abe and other Cabinet members on various topics during the two-day Lower House Budget Committee session.

Yuichiro Tamaki, head of the Democratic Party for the People (DPP), opened the group’s questioning of the government by pressing for answers to issues related to the recently negotiated bilateral trade agreement between Japan and the United States, which Abe has touted as a “win-win” deal.

Tamaki focused on the question of whether Washington has really agreed to drop its threat to impose additional tariffs on cars........

© The Asahi Shimbun