Ruling bloc decides to extend Diet session to pass ‘conspiracy bill’

The government and ruling parties have decided to extend the current Diet session, set to end June 18, by around 10 days to ensure passage of a controversial bill to punish conspiracy to commit a crime, ruling lawmakers said Saturday.

The extension is also necessary to enact a revised Penal Code to impose stiffer penalties on sexual offenses, the lawmakers said.

As the Diet session end nears, battling between the ruling and opposition blocs is likely to intensify, as the Democratic Party and three other opposition parties try to block passage of the conspiracy bill by submitting a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and a censure motion against Justice Minister Katsutoshi Kaneda.

The opposition parties also aim to grill the government over whether Abe sought to influence government approval for Kake Educational Institution to build a new university department in a special deregulation zone in western Japan.

Three similar bills to criminalize conspiracy to commit a crime failed to pass the Diet amid concerns that the legislation could be applied too broadly.

At a House of Councillors’ plenary session last week, Abe stressed the need to enact the legislation, saying it is the responsibility of the host country of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to take all possible measures to counter terrorism.


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