Japan PM hints at dissolving parliament

JAPAN - Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has again stated his determination to pass a bill to raise the consumption tax during the current Diet session, this time during debate with opposition party leaders and even hinting at dissolving the House of Representatives if the bill does not pass.

During debates with opposition leaders at the Diet Building on Wednesday, Noda said, "It is the basic stance of the government to do its best to enact a bill during the same session it is submitted."

Noda indicated his administration will not rule out dissolving the lower house for a general election if the bill is not enacted in the current session.

Noda said, "I'll treat the matter seriously."

The opposition party leaders who participated in the debates were Liberal Democratic Party President Sadakazu Tanigaki, New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi and Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe.

It was the first inter-party leader debate since the bill was submitted to the Diet on March 30.

During the debate with Tanigaki, Noda hailed the LDP's draft pledge for the next lower house election, which contains a plan to raise the consumption tax to 10 per cent.

"We have the same outlook on the issue," Noda told Tanigaki.

Noda then asked the LDP leader to hold one-on-one talks on the matter, saying, "It's absolutely necessary for top officials to discuss critical issues."

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