Photo/IllutrationPrime Minister Shinzo Abe acknowledges the applause after his re-election in the Lower House on Nov. 1. (Shinichi Iizuka)

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The ruling coalition agreed to an opposition party request for an extension of the special Diet session that convened on Nov. 1 and at which Shinzo Abe was re-elected as prime minister.

The coalition had initially proposed closing the session on Nov. 8, allowing only for the election to formally reaffirm Abe as prime minister. But the opposition charged that such a schedule would not give them time to ask anything of the Abe Cabinet.

The same criticism was directed at Abe when he dissolved the Lower House on the first day of an extraordinary Diet session in late September. The opposition blasted Abe’s move as nothing more than a ploy to avoid potentially embarrassing questions about scandals involving two educational institutions.

At a meeting of the various voting blocs of the Lower House on Nov. 1, the ruling coalition proposed holding a 39-day special session that would last until Dec. 9. The opposition agreed to the proposal.

With the extended session, Abe will give a policy speech outlining what his administration is planning to achieve. The opposition parties will be allowed to question the Cabinet both in plenary sessions as well as the budget committees of the two chambers.

The session comes in the wake of the Oct. 22 Lower House election in which the ruling coalition pulled off a major victory and retained a two-thirds majority.

Abe retained all of his Cabinet ministers since they were only appointed in the August reshuffle.

During the first Cabinet meeting, Abe will issue instructions to compile a supplementary budget in order to establish more day-care centers as well as provide support to small businesses.