Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Monday he has no intention of replacing two ministers despite censure motions having been submitted against them in the Diet.
The opposition-controlled upper house of the Diet last Friday voted to censure Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka and Transport Minister Takeshi Maeda.
Tanaka came under attack for a series of remarks that the opposition said revealed his lack of familiarity with key security issues. He was also criticized for a slow government response to the failed rocket launch by North Korea last week. Maeda has been accused of interfering in a local election.
The opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has boycotted Diet deliberations on a crucial bill to double the sales tax to 10% in two stages by October 2015 to help fund swelling welfare costs. The LDP said it will not cooperate unless Noda replaces the two ministers.
Noda said the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is united in its stance and urged the opposition to stop its stalling tactics, Fuji TV reported.
But the opposition so far has refused to cooperate, with LDP leader Sadakazu Tanigaki hoping that a stalemate will force Noda to call an early election.
But Noda, who has already parted with three ministers since he formed his cabinet in September, has signaled he would not cave in for now, hoping that a boycott will irk the public, and the LDP will eventually join tax debates.© Japan Today/Reuters