Last week on November 19, the bill to boost the industrial
competitiveness, entailing reorganization of industry with excessing
competition and abolishment of so-called gray-zone regulation by
making exemption, was approved in the Lower House and sent to the
Upper House. There was an additional revision in the Lower House,
imposing compulsory submission of documents by the government to the
Diet every year.
The bill on the National Strategic Special Zones, aimed at promoting
regulatory reforms within certain areas, was approved in the Lower
House and sent to the Upper House on November 21. The bill too was
partly revised in the Lower House, which enabled the items
experimented in the past special zones for structural reforms to be
applied in the special zones.
Both the bills will likely be approved in the Upper House and passed
into legislation within the current Diet session.
*The state of deliberations in both Houses and committees are
available from the following websites.(Japanese only)
House of Representatives Internet TV：http://www.shugiintv.go.jp/en/index.php
Live broadcasts and video recordings of the deliberations in the
House of Councillors：http://www.webtv.sangiin.go.jp/
On the bill to establish a Japanese version of National Security
Council (NSC), the ruling coalition, on Nov 22, had asked the
opposition parties to take voting in the Upper House on Nov 25. Social
Democratic Party and Japan Communist Party had rejected, but the
ruling coalition decided to ram the bill through in the plenary
session of the Upper House on Nov 25. The bill was approved by
majority with agreements of Democratic Party of Japan, Your Party and
Japan Restoration Party, as well as the ruling Liberal Democratic
Party of Japan and New Komeito.
On the special intelligence protection bill, the ruling coalition had
taken revision consultations with each opposition parties respectively.
On Nov 19, LDP proposed a revised draft of the bill to Your Party,
which was accepted on the same day.
The revised bill was accepted by JRP on Nov 20, which had requested
an establishment of a third-party organization to designate special
intelligence, as such a provision was entailed in the supplementary
provision of the bill.
On the duration of time which the government can protect certain
information as special intelligence, LDP maintained “less than 30
years in principle”, while JRP insisted 30 years. Both sides
compromised on that the information to be protected beyond 30 years
need verification of the Cabinet at the time, but not extending 60
years with exception of 7 items”. Further, while JRP had demanded
that the subject of protection should be limited to the Cabinet
secretariat, Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense, LDP
rejected the idea and instead agreed to include provisions stipulating
that the ministries not maintaining special intelligence for 5 years
after the enactment of the legislation will lose the authority to
designate information as special intelligence.
In the meantime, DPJ approved its own 4 bills as counterproposal to
make Diet intervention more available and submitted them to the Diet.
The revision consultations between LDP and DPJ, after all ended in
failure. DPJ leader Kaieda, on Nov 22, announced that DPJ would vote
against the bill in the Lower House.
The ruling coalition on late Nov. 26 railroaded the state secrets
protection bill through the Lower House, ignoring overwhelming
opposition at a public hearing the previous day in Fukushima city and
outrage from opposition parties over the lack of debate. The bill was
finally approved, but the opposition party directors of the special
committee harshly criticized the move, saying sufficient debate had
not been conducted. The bill will likely be passed in the Upper House
within the Diet session, but the opposition camp will likely confront
the ruling coalition further.