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UPDATED: 17:42, June 15, 2004
Koizumi survives non-confidence motion
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Japan's ruling coalition on Tuesday turned down a non-confidence motion against the Cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

The motion was brought up at the lower house by the opposition camp led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) one day before the closure of current parliament session.

Using the majority advantage in the parliament, the Liberal Democratic Party and its ally -- the New Komeito Party -- defused the last-ditch attack in the parliament from the oppositions parties.

The opposition parties asked Koizumi to take the responsibility for Japan's participation of US-led occupation in Iraq and the pension reform project.

They are calling on the government to pull troops out of Iraq because the local security situation has been deteriorating.

Under a legislation enacted last year, Japan's Self-Defense Forces in Iraq should operate only in areas where no combat is or expected to take place.

The opposition camp also criticized Koizumi for his promise at the G-8 summit to participate in the multinational forces after the hand-over of Iraqi sovereignty, noting he made the announcement without parliament debate.

On the domestic issue, the ruling parties were slapped for forcibly endorsing the pension reform bills early June in the absence of DPJ.

Political struggle has ratcheted up as July's upper house election is drawing near. The DPJ aims to take more seats following a big leap in the lower house election last year.

However, both camps were mired in the pension premium scandal. Koizumi and seven of his ministers were found to fail to pay premiums, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda resigned over it. Former DPJ leader Naoto Kan stepped down likewise.

In addition,more than 100 parliament members were also on the list, arousing public uproar.

A poll by the leading newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun showed in the day the approval rating for Koizumi's Cabinet dropped by 4.3 points to 54.7 percent, mainly due to domestic economy and the pension reform issues.

Source: Xinhua

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