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Ruling parties seek to conclude talks on draft energy policy Fri.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition ally, the New Komeito party, are hoping to wrap up their discussions on a government-presented draft energy policy on Friday, lawmakers said Wednesday. The government is seeking the approval of the ruling parties before moving ahead to decide the so-called Basic Energy Plan, possibly early April, but the two parties are still divided on such issues as whether to include a numerical target on the amount of renewable energy that should be introduced.

Gov't may put off decision on collective self-defense

The Japanese government may postpone until the summer officially changing its constitutional interpretation to enable the country to come to the defense of allies under attack, amid calls from within the ruling coalition for a careful debate on the matter, government and coalition sources said Sunday. The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had planned to change the interpretation through a decision by the Cabinet by the June 22 end of the current session of parliament.

Ishihara not ruling out Restoration Party's split

Shintaro Ishihara, co-leader of the Japan Restoration Party, indicated Thursday that the opposition party could split up over a reorganization of the opposition camp or policy divisions within the party. In an interview with Kyodo News, the former Tokyo governor known for his hawkish views said he "won't deny" the possibility that his party may merge with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the future.

Ruling parties plan to use dormant bank deposits for public purposes

Japan's ruling camp is planning to use bank deposits left dormant for 10 years or more for public services provided by nonprofit organizations from 2015, sources close to the matter said Monday. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito party are aiming for a cross-party group of lawmakers to submit a related bill during the ordinary parliamentary session starting Friday, they said.

Ruling bloc ousts upper house committee chairs from opposition DPJ

In an unprecedented move drawing accusations of high-handedness, ruling coalition lawmakers in the House of Councillors voted out two committee chairmen from the opposition and replaced them with ruling camp colleagues. The Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner New Komeito introduced resolutions calling for the dismissals of Shunichi Mizuoka as chairman of the Cabinet Committee and Tsutomu Okubo as chairman of the Economy and Industry Committee.

Lower house likely to pass secrecy bill Tues.

Controversial legislation to give special secrecy designation to certain government information as well as penalties for those who leak it will likely be enacted during the current Diet session as small opposition parties have accepted the draft amendment presented by the ruling bloc, lawmakers said Wednesday.

Lower house to pass secrecy bill Tues. after modification talks

The House of Representatives is expected to pass next Tuesday a bill that will help the government tighten its control of information for security and other reasons amid strong public opposition, lawmakers said Wednesday. The prospect comes as political parties are negotiating tweaks on the bill, with the ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party showing signs of concession to requests from the opposition camp.

Japan's ruling coalition edging close to passage of secrecy bill

Japan's ruling coalition continued talks Tuesday with some opposition parties on a proposed secrecy law, showing signs of concessions that could pave the way for the controversial bill to be passed by the lower house this week. The governing coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party has been negotiating with the opposition camp to address differences over the legislation, which would give special secrecy designation to certain government information, as well as penalties for those who leak it.

Japan's ruling coalition edges toward secrecy law enactment

Japan's ruling and opposition parties continued talks Tuesday to iron out differences over a controversial bill that would give special secrecy designation to certain information within the government, including punishment for those who leak it. The ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party has been negotiating with some smaller opposition parties and accepted their calls for modifications to the bill that could limit people's constitutional right to know, while also weakening the freedom of press.

Ruling, opposition parties agree to revise bill on security council

The ruling and opposition parties agreed Tuesday to revise a bill to create a Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its coalition partner New Komeito party and the opposition Democratic Party of Japan will jointly submit an amended bill Wednesday to a House of Representatives special committee deliberating the legislation, according to members of the parties.
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