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Japan's LDP rejects calls for talks about tax hike with ruling DPJ

(Xinhua)

09:28, January 20, 2012

TOKYO, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- Japan's ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on Thursday officially called for talks with the opposition bloc on its planned tax hike, but the calls were snubbed by the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as the impasse on the issue intensifies.

At a cross-party meeting of secretaries general from ruling and opposition camps, DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi asked his opposition counterparts to enter into deliberations on the DPJ's plans to submit bills to the parliament by the end of March to increase Japan's 5 percent sales tax rate.

But the LDP and its smaller New Komeito party ally expressed its reluctance to hold talks with the DPJ leaving observers to maintain that Japanese Prime Minister and president of the DPJ, Yoshihiko Noda, may now opt to fast track the bill through the DPJ- controlled lower house to ensure the bill is on the 150-day ordinary Diet session agenda starting next Tuesday.

The move could draw flak from the opposite camp however meaning they can block the bill's passages through the upper house of Japan's bicameral parliament as they hold power there.

If this were to happen Noda may be forced to dissolve the lower house of parliament and call a snap election as the only way to overcome a political deadlock on the tax issue.

Noda said recently that the ruling DPJ needed to unite behind its plan to raise the nation's sales tax and implement social security reforms and has urged for more cooperation from opposition parties on the matter.

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