The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has decided to submit a revised bill on the proposed consumption tax hike to the cabinet for approval on Friday despite lingering opposition from within the party.
A group of DPJ lawmakers has been debating the wording of the bill since March 14, but were unable to reach a consensus. Just before dawn on Wednesday, DPJ Policy Affairs chief Seiji Maehara ended debate on the issue, triggering protests from some members, TBS reported.
The bill proposes raising the consumption tax to 10% by October 2015.
The main point in dispute is a clause that a consumption tax hike would be dependent on economic growth. One side wanted to include numerical targets such as economic growth rates, while opponents did not want specific figures included in the clause.
The revised version will contain a clause stipulating that a tax hike will be implemented if the economic growth rate is around 3%, but that the figure is not an absolute condition, party sources said, according to TBS.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters on Wednesday night that he felt the bill incorporated most of the various points of view. He said that after gaining cabinet approval on Friday, he will submit the bill to the Diet.
However, opponents are still not satsified. Former DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa said he will submit to the party leadership a petition containing the names of 70 party members opposing the bill and protesting the decision to end the debate.
DPJ Secretary General Azuma Koshiishi said that he understood calls for the debate to continue, but said time was running out and he asked party members to respect the decision.
Meanwhile, Shizuka Kamei, the leader of the DPJ's junior coalition People's New Party, said that if the cabinet approves the revised bill, he will have no choice but to pull his party out of the coalition, NHK reported.
Kamei said that when his party joined the coalition, it promised that it would not endorse any tax increases.© Japan Today