The Abe government has been criticized for its violent drives. One is its cabinet’s attitudes; the Cabinet has the right of administration, but it has disobeyed debates and decisions of the Diet to behave freely, disregarding the legislative body. That is denial of the rule of separation of power, denial of democracy. We must wage struggles to stop the government’s carefree actions.
CRISIS OF SEPARATION OF POWER AND DEMOCRACY
The Diet is ‘the highest organ of state power and the sole law-making body’ (Article 41 of the Constitution). Thus the key lies in debates between the ruling and opposition parties.
Repeated Forced Adoptions of Resolutions
Mr. Abe Shinzo has kept office as Prime Minister for almost six years; he was Premier for a year from September 2006 to September 2007 and has remained for five years from December 2012 to today. For these years his administrations have approved vital bills several times by force. The first occasion was passing the Fundamental Law on Education, which was worsened, in November, 2006.
He came back to power after abandoning responsibilities stemming from the political deadlock and his illness. On midnight of December 6, 2013, when he just returned to office, the Diet forced to approve the bill on protection of the state’s secrets. For the second time, on very early morning of September 19, 2015, the Diet approved the bills, in the end of the debates through midnight, on national security= war legislation. Again on June 15 this year a bill on conspiracy passed without the Diet’s ballot, only with a form of an interim report in the plenary session of the House of Councilors. In addition to these illicit approvals, in May 2013 a bill to register every citizen in a numerical code, the My Number System, was forced to pass the Diet. The code system constitutes part of a war regime.
As for the scandals of schools of Moritomo and Kake, the Abe government has refused presenting materials, insisting on ‘responsibility of the parliament’, while Article 62 of the Constitution stipulates ‘to provide testimonies of witnesses and written records’.
Prime Minister does not respect Constitution
In June this year the opposition parties demanded to hold an extraordinary session of the Diet in accordance with Article 53 of the Constitution in order to investigate further the school scandals. But the government neglected that. Immediately after the scheduled extraordinary session of the Diet opened on September 28, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo declared to dissolve the parliament to hold a general election - another violent drive. Criticisms mounted ? abuse of the right of premier to dissolve the Diet, dissolution without a cause, concealment of scandals, a looter, and etc. Thanks to the crumbling of Democratic Party=the Minshin, the Abe administration enjoyed overwhelming victory in the general election of October.
The 195th extraordinary session of the Diet began November 1, lasting to December 9, for 39 days. The ruling parties=government had proposed a term of eight days, but, due to harsh social criticisms and offensives of the opposition parties, the period was consequently set as 39 days.
But in real term, the session is shorter due to the visits to foreign countries of Prime Minister and a claim from the ruling parties to reduce time of debates by opposition lawmakers pursuant, proportionally, to the number of seats occupied in the Diet. The government and the ruling parties are combined in a single body.
Under the system bills are debated by ruling parties prior to a cabinet decision and then they are put on debates by opposition parties for inquiry. Thus the opposition parties used to play a major role in the Diet in checking the administrations.
Typical Example of Abuse of Power by Ruling Parties
It was last year when the Diet debated on a bill on gamble in casinos. A LDP lawmaker, saying he had enough time to speak, quoted phrases from the Buddhist holy book. It was a symbolic event to tell us that it is a waste of time if ruling lawmakers are given a right period of time in the sessions.
Reduction of debate time for opposition lawmakers in the session undermines authority of the legislative function, exhausting the rights of legislation and of budget compilation.
Democracy in Japan will die unless the LDP ends carefree behaviors.
December 12, 2017