Japanese Lower House approval of U.S. trade deal to be delayed


The ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito has given up on plans to pass a recently signed trade deal with the United States through the House of Representatives by the end of this week, a senior LDP official said Tuesday.

The ruling bloc now aims to get the deal through the Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday and the full chamber next week, the official said.

The decision came after the opposition side rejected a suggestion by the ruling coalition that a vote be taken on the treaty on Wednesday. The ruling bloc apparently wants to secure a smooth parliamentary process with cooperation from opposition parties.

The opposition camp aims to block a vote until the government and ruling coalition meet its demands, including the disclosure of minutes of summit meetings between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The opposition parties plan to submit a motion to remove the chairman of the Lower House committee if the ruling coalition unilaterally puts the pact to a vote.

The ongoing parliamentary session is set to end on Dec. 9. The schedule for discussions on the treaty in the Upper House will be tight due to the delay in Lower House approval.

But under a constitutional provision that gives the Lower House a superior position over the Upper House, the trade pact would win parliamentary approval 30 days after Lower House passage, with or without Upper House approval.



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