The ruling camp appears to be acting on the axiom “might is right.”

The government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party have started laying the groundwork for a post-election Diet schedule that would include a constitutionally required special session to vote for the next prime minister but not an extraordinary session.

Only an eight-day special Diet session starting on Nov. 1 will be held, according to the ruling party’s plan.

Four months since opposition parties first demanded an extraordinary Diet session according to Article 53 of the Constitution, the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is again plotting to avoid full-fledged Diet deliberations on key policy issues and a few political scandals.

After the LDP’s crushing victory in the Oct. 22 Lower House election, Abe and many other members of the Cabinet pledged to be “humble.” But the powerful ruling party is already violating the pledge, showing signs of arrogance again.

The Abe administration stands out among successive Japanese administrations in terms of disrespect for the Diet.

Since 1992, when convening a regular Diet session in January was established as the norm, there have only been two years when an autumn extraordinary Diet session was not held--2005, when Junichiro Koizumi was prime minister, and 2015, when Abe was in power.

In 2005, however, a lengthy special Diet session was held from September to November, with the prime minister delivering a policy speech and the budget committees of both houses discussing policy issues.

In autumn 2015, Abe rejected an opposition request for an extraordinary session partly because some Cabinet members had become embroiled in scandals.

The administration says this time it would accept an opposition request for budget committee meetings without convening a full Diet session.

But one or two days of committee meetings would be far from enough for in-depth discussions on important issues.

The political scandals involving Moritomo Gakuen and Kake Educational Institution, two school operators linked to the prime minister, are not the only topics that should be addressed by the legislature.

It is vital for lawmakers to tackle such issues as the situation surrounding North Korea’s arms programs, which Abe himself has described as “a national crisis,” and the LDP’s proposal to change the plan about how the additional revenue from the scheduled consumption tax hike should be used.

If no extraordinary session takes place this autumn, there will be no full-fledged Diet debate for about half a year since the end of the ordinary session for this year in June until the opening of the regular session for next year in January.

That would be a legislative abnormality that raises serious questions about the role and value of the Diet, the principal forum for debate on problems facing the nation.

This situation requires opposition parties to perform their basic roles. Unfortunately, however, opposition groups are on shaky footing.

The Democratic Party, which was the largest opposition bloc until the election, has split into pieces. The newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (CDP) has emerged as the leader of the opposition camp but with the smallest number of Lower House seats for a party of that status since the so-called "1955 regime" of the LDP’s uninterrupted rule with the Socialist Party as the perennial No. 1 opposition bloc.

Even so, opposition parties should not let the Abe administration get away with its outrageous disrespect for the Diet.

Yukio Edano, chief of the CDP, has voiced skepticism about the idea of a broad opposition coalition aimed primarily at securing greater strength in the Diet.

“If we are misunderstood to be a party committed to the numbers game in Nagatacho (Japan’s political power center), voters’ expectations for us will evaporate before we know it.”

Edano is correct. Still, opposition parties should cooperate at least in demanding an extraordinary Diet session under the current situation, which could pose a threat to this nation’s democracy and constitutionalism.

In 2012, the LDP, which was out of power at that time, drafted a constitutional amendment proposal to require that an extraordinary Diet session be convened within 20 days when a request for such a session is made.

Opposition parties can take a leaf from the LDP’s book and demand an extraordinary session within 20 days.

Campaigning for the Lower House poll, Edano promised to ensure that the power of the government will be exercised according to the rules set by the Constitution.

“We will restore decency and rectitude to politics,” he said.

To deliver on his promise, Edano should provide leadership for crucial cooperation among opposition parties on this issue.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Oct. 27