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Japan PM Noda’s party splits over sales tax, 9 MPs to leave party

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao prior to a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beij...

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Hu Jintao prior to a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beij...

Japan’s ruling Democratic Party (DPJ) is struggling to agree on a plan to double the sales tax by 2015 over the objection of lawmakers who resigned from the party saying the stance violates a campaign promise.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is pushing his party to agree on the sales tax by the end of the year as he fights to tackle the public debt.

Party executives have proposed raising the levy from 5 percent to 8 percent in October 2013 and to 10 percent in April 2015.

Nine DPJ members submitted their resignation Wednesday, citing the DPJ’s failure to keep campaign promises, the DPJ’s Acting Secretary-General Shinji Tarutoko told reporters.

Once DPJ members agree on the tax, a government panel led by Finance Minister Jun Azumi must approve the measures before discussing them with opposition lawmakers.

The government is unlikely to complete that process this year, Kyodo News said, without citing anyone. The DPJ may modify the timing of the first step of raising the tax in 2013, Kyodo said.

Noda’s approval rating dropped to 31 percent from 40 percent last month according to an Asahi newspaper poll published Dec 13.

An aging population and two decades of low growth have saddled Japan with debt projected to exceed 1 quadrillion yen in the current fiscal year. Standard & Poor’s said last month it was considering lowering Japan’s sovereign rating, already cut in January to AA-, as Noda’s government makes little progress at tackling the burden.


Updated : 2021-03-05 22:55 GMT+08:00