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Suga's govt survives key vote in parliament

By WANG XU in Tokyo | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-06-16 09:20

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks during a news conference after the government's decision to extend a state of emergency amid coronavirus disease pandemic, at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, on May 28, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Japan's ruling coalition on Tuesday voted down a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's Cabinet in the House of Representatives, or lower house of the Diet.

The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, or CDPJ, and three other opposition parties submitted on Tuesday the first no-confidence motion against Suga's Cabinet, criticizing the government's COVID-19 response and plans to push ahead with the Tokyo Olympics.

The move came after the ruling coalition, the Liberal Democratic Party, or LDP, and its junior partner Komeito, rejected the opposition's request for a three-month extension to the current Diet session, which is scheduled to end on Wednesday.

They said a three-month extension is necessary to continue debate if the Tokyo Olympics, set to begin on July 23, and Paralympics can be held safely while the pandemic continues.

Financial difficulties

The motion said that Suga's Cabinet failed to adequately respond to the coronavirus pandemic and forced many people into financial difficulties.

CDPJ leader Yukio Edano accused Suga of "stopping the highest institution of the state from functioning for an extended period during the worst crisis since the end of the war".

"On that point alone, he is unfit to be a leader during an emergency," Edano said during the lower house plenary session.

In response, several lawmakers from the LDP and Komeito said: "There is no reason for the Cabinet to face a no-confidence motion." The ruling coalition currently holds 306 of the 465 seats in the more powerful lower house of Japan's parliament.

Before the move, Suga on Sunday did not rule out dissolving the lower house for a general election in response to a no-confidence motion, while maintaining that bringing the pandemic under control is his top priority.

A general election must be held no later than Oct 21 when the current four-year term of the lower house ends. The other opposition parties that submitted the no-confidence motion were the Japanese Communist Party, the Democratic Party for the People, and the Social Democratic Party.

Separately, Kyodo News on Tuesday said Japan was considering placing Tokyo under a quasi-state of emergency during the Olympics, citing unidentified sources. It said Suga will convene a coronavirus-response task force meeting as early as Thursday to make a decision on whether to end the third state of emergency.

Tokyo and nine other prefectures, including Hokkaido, Osaka and Fukuoka, have been under a state of emergency since late April.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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