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No early lower house dissolution until debt issue bill passed: Noda.

TOKYO, July 9 Kyodo

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Monday ruled out an early dissolution of the House of Representatives for a general election, saying one of the conditions for this is the passage of a bill that enables the government to issue deficit-covering bonds.

"Integrated reforms (of social security and tax) are an important issue, but apart from that there are other bills such as the deficit-covering bond bill," Noda told parliament, saying the tasks he needs to accomplish before the lower house is dissolved are not devoted to a single issue.

The premier has repeatedly said he will stake his "political career" on the passage of a controversial bill to double the sales tax rate by 2015. Other key legislation which Noda wants to pursue includes the bond issuance bill that is key to financing the fiscal 2012 budget.

At the lower house Budget Committee session, Sadakazu Tanigaki, head of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, renewed his call for dissolving the lower house as soon as possible.

Their debate is the first since the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, led by Noda, the LDP and its ally the New Komeito party agreed on the tax hike bill to pave the way for its passage in the lower house last month.

Tanigaki, who last faced Noda in a one-to-one Diet debate in April, attempted to take a swipe at Noda's leadership now that some DPJ members including former party leader Ichiro Ozawa have left the ruling party and still others may defect in protest at Noda's signature policy goal of a tax hike.

"It is becoming difficult to manage the administration in a stable manner," the LDP chief said. But Tanigaki, himself a tax hike proponent, appeared less antagonistic in his attacks on Noda in connection with the tax increase issue.

Despite criticism from within his party, Noda vowed to push for the passage of the tax increase bill, which is at the center of the integrated reforms, during the current Diet session through Sept. 8.

The bill is almost certain to pass the opposition-controlled House of Councillors as well on the back of support by the DPJ, the LDP and New Komeito.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Date:Jul 9, 2012
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