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Japanese PM makes 1st policy speech on attacking opposition
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16:25, September 29, 2008

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Japanese newly elected Prime Minister Taro Aso delivered his first policy speech in the Diet on Monday, lashing out at the opposition, urging his rivals to help pass emergency financial rescue plans and pledging tax cuts.

He said that the opposition, Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) should back the 1.81 trillion yen supplementary budget for the current fiscal 2008, to finance emergency economic measures and Japan's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean.

Aso, who took office last week, is expected to call an early general election to try to break a deadlock created by a divided parliament, where the opposition control the upper house and can delay bills.

Aso said the Democrats has put politics over the people's livelihoods, as they blocked and delayed a number of key bills in the upper house, such as rejecting the nomination of the central bank governor.

While noting economic revival is the top priority, Aso pledged to implement temporary income tax cuts to support households struggling with an economic recession and high fuel prices.

"There will not be fiscal reconstruction without economic development," Aso said, adding "once again, I ask the Democratic Party and other opposition parties for your cooperation in parliamentary affairs."

He also attacked the Democrats for opposing Japan's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean in support of U.S.-led anti-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.

Aso said his diplomatic priority was to strengthen ties with the United States, while the stable and healthy relations with China, Russia and South Korea are also important.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura acknowledged it's unusual to be so aggressive in the first speech of a newly-elected prime minister.

"It's a bit different from previous policy speeches, probably because of the election," he told a news conference.

On domestic affairs, he pledged to make a "necessary review" on pensions and health care plan for Japan's fast-ageing population.

The insurance program which covers about 13 million people, has come under fire for placing a heavier financial burden on some elderly people with low incomes since it was put in place in April.

Source: Xinhua



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