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Japan's PM eyes year-end election in quid-pro-quo deal with opposition

By Jon Day (Xinhua)

14:35, November 13, 2012

TOKYO, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Japan's prime minister Yoshihiko Noda has indicated his intentions to dissolve the House of Representatives by the end of this year and call a snap-election as public support wanes and pressure from the opposition bloc mounts.

To avoid a no-confidence motion against his cabinet by the opposition bloc, which could force his administration to resign en mass, and to ensure key legislation is passed in a divided parliament, Noda will dissolve the House of Representatives by Nov. 22 and call a general election on Dec. 16, his aides have said.

Noda's cabinet has come under increased fire from the opposition-bloc, from within his own splintered Democratic Party of Japan and from the public of late. Political pundits said that the news of Noda's plans to dissolve the lower house and call an election before the year-end came as no surprise, considering both political and public sentiment towards Noda and his cabinet.

Latest polls have revealed that the disapproval rate for the governing cabinet has hit a record high of 64 percent and public support for Noda's ailing cabinet has tumbled to below 20 percent - - a threshold former prime ministers in recent history have failed to recover from.

The latest polls reveal that the public is at odds with Noda over his planned sales tax hike, which would see consumption tax doubled to 10 percent, as well as his handling of diplomatically sensitive territorial disputes with Japan's neighbors including China and South Korea.

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