Opposition Parties to Demand Diet Extension over Cherry Blossom Party

Politics

Tokyo, Dec. 5 (Jiji Press)--Major Japanese opposition parties have agreed to urge the ruling bloc to substantially extend the ongoing session of the Diet, the country's parliament, aiming to continue grilling Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over controversial cherry blossom-viewing parties he hosted.

The agreement was reached at a meeting on Wednesday of parliamentary affairs chiefs of the parties, including the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. It is very rare for the opposition side to request an extension of a Diet session. The current extraordinary session is scheduled to end on Monday.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its Komeito ally are likely to reject the possible opposition demand. The tax-funded annual cherry blossom parties are at the center of fresh cronyism allegations involving Abe, with the prime minister under fire for inviting many of his supporters to the events.

"We aim to urge the ruling side to extend the Diet session beyond the turn of the year," CDPJ Diet affairs chief Jun Azumi told reporters after the meeting.

Abe "won't be able to convince any member of the public if he continues hiding," Azumi said, in apparent reference to the ruling camp's rejection of an opposition demand that meetings of the budget committees of both Diet chambers be held with participation by the prime minister.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press