The government and ruling Democratic party of Japan (DPJ) on Friday completed its draft proposal for tax and social security reform, including the contentious consumption tax hike.
However, the government faces an uphill battle getting the proposal anywhere near a vote in Diet.
All the major opposition parties have already refused to take part in cross-party talks on the issue. Furthermore, Noda has run into opposition to the proposed tax hike from within his own party, including former DPJ chief Ichiro Ozawa.
The main bone of contention is the government's plan to raise the consumption tax in two stages -- from the current 5% to 8% in April 2014, and then to 10% in October 2015. The tax hike is meant to help fund Tohoku reconstruction efforts and pay for spiraling social security costs.
Noda on Friday once again called on the opposition parties to come to the negotiating table. He said he would like talks to start preferably next week with the aim of submitting a bill to the Diet in March. "There is always room to reach a consensus," he said.
But opposition Liberal Democratic Party leader Sadakazu Tanigaki said his party cannot approve any hike in the consumption tax and repeated his call for the prime minister to dissolve the lower house and seek mandate from the people.© Japan Today