Opposition to the cross-party agreement on two tax and social security reform bills intensified within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) on Sunday as Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda left to attend the Group of 20 (G20) nations in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Before leaving Japan, Noda said he hopes opposition to the bills within the party will end and that the two bills can be presented to the lower house for a vote before the current Diet session ends on Friday, NTV reported.
However, DPJ heavyweights Ichiro Ozawa and former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said the vote in the Diet must be postponed so the party can discuss it further. Both strongly oppose the bill to hike the consumption tax to 10% and have accused the government of ditching the party's 2009 election-winning manifesto.
Noda told reporters he was confident that their differences could be resolved and said that DPJ Secretary-General Azuma Koshiishi will hold a meeting with senior party executives on Monday afternoon, NTV reported.
But Noda hinted that he may have to discuss a possible extension of the current Diet session if no progress is made in the talks. Media speculated Sunday that the Diet session would most likely be extended until August to give the upper house time to deliberate on the bill.
LDP Secretary-General Nobuteru Ishihara said the opposition parties want a vote by Friday and added that Noda should sever ties with rebels in his party. The LDP is also calling for the prime minister to dissolve the lower house and call a general election.
Noda will return from Mexico late Wednesday.© Japan Today