Noda ‘chose tax hike over being premier’

Noda ‘chose tax hike over being premier’
Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda

Former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said in a recent interview that he placed more importance on raising the consumption tax rate than remaining prime minister when he decided last August to approve the increase.

As head of the then ruling party, Noda agreed with the then two opposition parties on comprehensive social security and tax system reforms, including the consumption tax hike.

Noda revealed details of behind-the-scenes developments concerning the agreement among his Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito in the interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.

He also revealed contents of talks between the ruling DPJ and the two opposition parties on the timing of the dissolution of the House of Representatives, during which he said he would dissolve the lower house "sometime soon."

On Oct. 1, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe officially announced that the consumption tax rate will be raised to 8 per cent next April, as agreed on last August.

Noda said he had intended to resign from his Diet seat if he could not pave the way for raising the consumption tax.

"At the time I thought I might have to choose between the consumption tax hike or my post as prime minister," Noda said. "After also considering that I would have to choose between the tax increase and my own party [many members of which opposed the increase], I said I was willing to bet my political life. I meant that I intended to resign as a Diet member."

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