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With prosecutor retirement issue, Abe ignores rule of law, again

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's response to criticism about his Cabinet's decision to postpone the scheduled retirement of a top public prosecutor seen close to the government has again raised eyebrows.

It has highlighted afresh the fact that the Abe administration does not understand the rule of law and the importance of the Diet in a democracy.

During a Feb. 13 Lower House plenary session, Abe said the government had decided to change its traditional "interpretation" of a law to delay the mandatory retirement of Hiromu Kurokawa, chief of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office, by six months beyond his 63rd birthday.

The government is responsible for carrying out its administrative work according to laws enacted by the Diet, "the sole law-making organ."

The Cabinet must not be allowed to effectively change a law at its own discretion without offering any detailed explanation about the act.

When the Cabinet, in an unusual move, decided at the end of January to extend Kurokawa's tenure by six months shortly before his scheduled Feb. 7 retirement, the decision was decried as the administration's outrageous attempt to manipulate the appointment of top prosecutors.


© The Asahi Shimbun