Special Diet session convenes after upper house election



An extraordinary parliamentary session was convened Monday in response to last month’s upper house poll with the newly elected entering the Diet.

Chuichi Date, former secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party for the House of Councillors lawmakers, was elected as the upper house chairman in the morning plenary session, while Akira Gunji, former head of the upper house caucus of the major opposition Democratic Party, was chosen as the deputy chair.

The three-day session is tasked with procedural matters following the July 10 election and full-fledged legislative debate will not take place until a separate extraordinary session to be convened in September.

Rookie lawmaker Eriko Imai, a vocalist of the four-member female group SPEED that became popular in the 1990s, told reporters she hopes to help realize the “dreams and hopes of each and every citizen.”

Imai, whose 11-year-old son has impaired hearing, won a seat on the proportional representation list after pledging to work on children’s welfare.

Another rookie, Kentaro Asahi, a former Olympic beach volleyball player who won a seat in the Tokyo constituency, said he would work hard on sports-related policies.

“I believe people are expecting my efforts for (successful hosting of) the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics,” he said.

Yoichi Iha, who defeated Aiko Shimajiri, the state minister in charge of issues related to Okinawa, in the Okinawa Prefecture constituency, reiterated his opposition to the relocation of a U.S. base in the southern island prefecture.

“I cannot tolerate forcible construction of a military facility against people’s will,” said Iha, who is also entering the Diet for the first time as a parliamentarian. “I will convey Okinawa’s reality to the Diet.”


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