Court Avoids Constitutional Judgment over Abe on Call for Diet Session

Society

Tokyo, March 24 (Jiji Press)--Tokyo District Court on Wednesday stopped short of making a judgment on whether the failure in 2017 by the cabinet of then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to meet an opposition request for convening an extraordinary parliamentary session for over three months was constitutional or unconstitutional.

In its ruling in the lawsuit filed over the matter in September 2018 by Hiroyuki Konishi, a lawmaker of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the court also rejected the plaintiff's claim for compensation of 10,000 yen. Konishi, a member of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, argued in the suit that the Abe cabinet violated Article 53 of the Constitution by not convening an extraordinary Diet session for more than three months despite a request by the opposition side in 2017.

Presiding Judge Masahiro Kamano said in the ruling that a lawmaker's petition over a response by the cabinet is not subject to a lawsuit because it represents a dispute between state institutions. The court turned down Konishi's request for its confirmation that the cabinet is obliged to convene an extra Diet session within 20 days of a request being made under the article.

On Konishi's claim that lawmakers were unable to exercise their right to question due to an extra Diet session not being convened for a long period of time, the judge said that such rights cannot be recognized as interests protected under the state redress law.

Article 53 of the Constitution says that the Japanese cabinet must decide to convene an extraordinary Diet session if requested to do so by a quarter or more of all members of either chamber of the parliament. But it does not stipulate the length of the period within which the session must be convened.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press