Despite the impression of gridlock, Mainichi reports that the Diet passed twenty-six bills this session (fourteen government bills, twelve individual member bills), one more than was passed in the 2006 special session. Of the thirteen bills submitted to the HC by the DPJ, only one — on support for disaster victims — passed.
The battles of this session, however, were nothing more than a prelude to the showdown to come. The LDP is now divided over whether the anti-terror law should be the government’s last use of its HR supermajority (not to mention the underlying divisions in the party that were only temporarily settled when Mr. Fukuda took office). Thanks to the precedent, various government and LDP officials have begun making the case for the use of the supermajority to pass budget-related bills and an extension of the temporary gas tax, most recently Finance Minister Nukaga. The DPJ’s divisions are equally apparent after the struggle over the anti-terror law.
Will all of this result in a general election, whether in the middle of this Diet session or in the late summer (or another time of the government’s choosing)? That question will loom large over this session’s deliberations.
Hold on tight.