Abe shelves bill on retirement age of prosecutors after public pressure
Japan Today -- May 19
The government and ruling coalition parties agreed Monday to shelve a plan to enact a law to extend the retirement age of prosecutors during the current Diet session, amid heated criticism from the Japanese public led by celebrities who have taken to Twitter to express their opposition.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of the Liberal Democratic Party, reached the agreement amid calls for the resignation of Hiromu Kurokawa, widely believed to be favored by the prime minister's office who was permitted to remain as chief of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office after he turned 63.

Abe and Nikai affirmed the government could not move forward with the proposed revision of the Public Prosecutors Office Law without the understanding of the public.

Senior officials said there was growing concern in the government that steamrolling the bill through parliament could cause significant damage to the administration as many believe Abe should be concentrating on containing the novel coronavirus.

Some in the government, which sponsored the bill, and the ruling parties were also considering removing a special provision from it that the opposition camp and pundits said would enable the government to allow elite investigators it favors to stay in office longer, according to the officials.

"We must not be involved in a matter that causes problems between the ruling and opposition camps at this crucial time," a senior government official said.

The official went on to say that the government should first seek parliamentary approval by June 17 -- the end of the ongoing session -- of a second supplementary budget for fiscal 2020 to fund measures to support people amid the virus pandemic.

The proposed revision, which was originally to come into effect on April 1, 2022, may be passed in the extraordinary parliamentary session this fall or in next year's regular session instead, the official added.

The bill to amend the law, which has been under deliberation in parliament since last month, calls for raising the retirement age of prosecutors to 65 from 63, and contains a special provision that allows some top prosecutors to stay until 66 upon Cabinet approval.

The bill also sought to raise the prosecutor general's retirement age from 65 to 68, if the Cabinet backs it.

But critics said such changes could damage the judicial system by enabling the administration to decide which prosecutors can stay in office longer.

News source: Japan Today
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