Foreign Minister's G-20 Absence Sparks Diet Custom Review


Tokyo, March 7 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi's absence from a Group of 20 meeting last week has spurred a review of how ministers should attend sessions of the Diet, the country's parliament.

In a widely criticized move, the government had Hayashi skip the two-day meeting of foreign ministers from the G-20 advanced and emerging economies in India through Thursday, citing a customary rule requiring all cabinet ministers to attend key Budget Committee meetings.

The absence, blasted by the Indian media, was seen by many as a "diplomatic loss."

The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito on Tuesday agreed to hold talks with the opposition to allow cabinet members to attend international meetings flexibly while the Diet is in session.

"We pursued the possibility of his attending the meeting, but we took into consideration the schedule and contents of official business in Japan, including Diet attendance," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said regarding Hayashi's absence from the G-20 meeting, at the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, on Thursday.

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Jiji Press