China-Japan relations

China visit by Yoriko Kawaguchi stirs up hornet's nest in Diet

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 February, 2017, 4:55pm

An extended visit to China by a former foreign minister of Japan has triggered a political row.

The opposition is demanding Yoriko Kawaguchi be stripped of her position as chairwoman of the environment committee of the upper house of the Diet for showing disrespect to parliamentary rules.

Kawaguchi extended a two-day visit to China last month to hold talks with State Councillor Yang Jiechi .

But she failed to inform the Diet of her decision and a meeting of the committee scheduled for April 25 had to be cancelled.

The government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party insist Kawaguchi was acting in the best interests of the nation, but that has not deterred the opposition, which still controls the upper house, from filing a resolution demanding she be dismissed.

Angry at the opposition's tactics, members of the LDP and New Komeito, its ally in the government, refused to attend a session of the house budget committee on Wednesday.

Even if Kawaguchi is replaced, the opposition's victory is likely to be short-lived as the nation once again goes to the polls in July for elections to the upper house, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on course to win control of the chamber.