August 10, 2018
Tokyo- Nearly 60 pct of Japanese people want party leader debates in parliament to be revamped, a Jiji Press opinion survey showed.
The August survey showed that 57.1 pct of respondents sought to keep the one-on-one debates between the prime minister and opposition leaders in place after being overhauled.
The proportion of respondents who wanted the debates to continue as they are stood at 20.2 pct, while 8.1 pct sought to abolish the debates.
Among respondents who sought to reform the debates, 40.2 pct, the largest share, supported a proposal to hold the event at night so that many people could watch.
A proposal to hold the debates regularly, such as once every two weeks, drew support from 35.3 pct, while 26.5 pct backed a proposal to extend the length of the debates from the current 45 minutes to some two hours.
The debates were introduced in 2000, and ruling and opposition parties in 2014 agreed to hold them once a month.
But there was no such session last year. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently said the debates had accomplished their mission.
The survey showed that when asked about whether the frequency and length of attendance of parliamentary sessions by the prime minister and cabinet ministers should be reduced, 34.9 pct opposed while 34.0 pct agreed. Those who said they are not sure came to 31.1 pct.
The interview-based opinion poll was conducted for four days through Monday covering 1,991 people aged 18 or older nationwide, excluding part of downpour-hit Hiroshima Prefecture. Of them, 61.8 pct gave valid answers. Jiji Press
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