Order to prepare answers to Diet questions revoked
Wednesday 28th October, 04:52 AM JST
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano on Tuesday rescinded the instruction the prime minister’s office had given to bureaucrats to prepare memos detailing answers to questions likely to be put to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and other ministers in the Diet. ‘‘While I understand that (the instruction) was given in a habitual and clerical manner, I have instructed it to be repealed,’’ Hirano said at a news conference.
In a separate news conference earlier in the day, Hirano denied giving the instruction himself. Hatoyama also denied to reporters on Tuesday morning that he had given it. A report on the instruction was carried by Kyodo News on Monday, which had obtained a Cabinet Affairs Office document detailing it. The document instructed the bureaucrats to draw up memos that Hatoyama can use when responding to questions from Diet interpellators, and asks them to add particular points to consider in answering the questions.
On Tuesday, Hirano criticized the instruction as unnecessary in realizing the exercising of greater leadership by politicians—a goal pursued by his Democratic Party of Japan-led government—while expressing some understanding to the bureaucratic move as intended primarily as information-gathering.
The top government spokesman said, however, that ministers can ask bureaucrats to prepare memos if that helps them sort out information.