Diet Split On Longer Session Over Cherry Party

Diet split on longer session over cherry party

Japanese opposition parties are trying to extend the current extraordinary Diet session to grill Prime Minister Shinzo Abe over the guest list for the annual state-funded cherry blossom viewing party.

The Diet session is scheduled to end next Monday.

The governing Liberal Democratic Party's Diet affairs chief, Hiroshi Moriyama, indicated on Wednesday that there was no need to extend the session.

Moriyama cited the likelihood of remaining bills being passed even if the session isn't prolonged. He also said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has already answered questions about guests invited to the cherry blossom viewing party. He added that the public has a better understanding of his position.

Opposition lawmakers say large numbers of Abe supporters were invited to the party and that some dubious figures were also invited.

Opposition parties are calling for a substantial extension, stressing the need to hold a budget committee meeting to discuss the matter and to hear further details from the prime minister.

The Constitutional Democratic Party's Diet affairs chief, Jun Azumi, told reporters on Wednesday that the Diet session should be extended into next year.

He said the controversy is far from over and that the opposition camp will not allow the governing parties to make it look like a matter that has been settled.