The House of Representatives decided to extend the Diet session to two more days until Sunday as they still have not been able to reach a vote over the controversial state secrets bill as well as ensuring the passage of other important bills. Should the House of Councillors decided to vote down the extension, the decision of the Lower House would have override the Upper House.
The ruling party bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior party New Komeito agreed to the extension as they are pushing to have the bill passed before the extraordinary Diet session ends. There was a strong possibility that the contentious piece of legislation would have been scrapped if it was not put to a vote by Friday. If the bill was put to a vote late Friday evening, the Upper House members from Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and Your Party would have walked out, as they feel that the ruling bloc has been forcing the vote without giving enough chance for the opposition to clarify the questionable parts of the bill.
Earlier in the day, the main opposition party Democratic Party of Japan filed a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the lower house, but was expected to be voted down by the ruling party lawmakers. The day before, they also submitted censure motions against Masako Mori, the Cabinet member tasked to guide the bill, and Masaharu Nakagawa, the chair of the Upper House committee that approved the bill. These moves are seen as delaying tactics in order to not put the bill to vote. The bill seeks to increase the penalties on those who will be found guilty of leaking “state secrets”, the definition of which is still ambiguous at best. Media people and human rights group are also opposed to the bill as they believe it will curtail press freedom and the people’s right to know.
[ via Yomiuri ]