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Noda cabinet hangs by a thread (3)

By Sun Xiaozheg, Jon Day (Xinhua)

08:36, November 02, 2012

The exodus was staged to protest Noda's signature plans to double the sales tax from 5 percent and to restart idled nuclear reactors.

In August, Noda, then LDP chief Sadakazu Tanigaki and New Komeito head Natsuo Yamaguchi agreed on a deal to enact legislation for tax hike and social security reforms, in exchange for a promise from Noda to call a general election "sometime soon. "

Besides controversial tax hike bills,Noda also escalated Japan' s diplomatic tensions with China and South Korea over territorial disputes, which Abe said they have been triggered by the Prime Minister's "lack of diplomatic policies," expressing eagerness to put foreign policy back on the right footing if the LDP succeeds in ousting the Democratic Party of Japan from power.

Two cabinet ministers visited the controversial Yasukuni Shrine which further tensioned Japan's already soured ties with China and South Korea.

HANGING BY A THREAD

Noda has promised to dissolve the lower house in the near future, but when exactly is "near future"?

At the lower house plenary session on Wednesday, Noda responded to Abe by saying it is necessary to create the right kind of environment before calling a general election that must be held by next summer, suggesting his reluctance to dissolve the lower house at an early date.

Noda is now believed to be delaying dissolution of the more powerful chamber as long as possible, while Abe is intensifying his offensive against Noda as speculation grows that the LDP could become the largest political force in the lower house after the next general election, with the party leader likely to become next prime minister.

But with dwindling public support for Noda's Cabinet, the possibility of more defections from the ruling party and traction being gained by new populist leaders and parties, coupled with increased pressure from the main opposition bloc who doubt the ruling Cabinet's ability to effectively govern, political pundits believe comprehensive change is imminent.

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