DHAKA: Yoshihiko Noda, Japan’s prime minister, has won initial approval for his signature tax-increase plan, but enough fellow party members voted no to threaten a split, which could trigger an early election.
The plan to double the sales tax to 10 per cent over three years was approved by the lower house on Tuesday and is seen as a first step towards curbing Japan’s snowballing public debt, which already exceeds two years’ worth of its economic output, a record for an industrialised nation.
A compromise struck with the opposition in mid-June allowed Noda to break months of policy gridlock and secure the plan’s comfortable passage in parliament by 363 to 96 votes.
But 57 legislators from Noda’s Democratic Party of Japan voted against the bill, reports Al Jazeera.
If 54 or more of them leave the party as a result, the Democrats would lose their majority in the more powerful lower house, raising the prospect of an election well before the next one is due by mid-2013.
BDST: 1702 HRS, JUN 26, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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