Abe rules out forming coalition government with DPJ after election

Kyodo

Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe on Sunday ruled out forming a coalition government with the Democratic Party of Japan, headed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, after the Dec. 16 general election.

“Mainly together with the New Komeito party, we will promote cooperation (with other parties) on each agenda,” Abe, who is expected to reclaim the premiership following the House of Representatives election, said on an NHK program.

Noda told the same program his party aims to remain the biggest in the lower house after the poll and to maintain the DPJ-led government.

Noda, meanwhile, reiterated on a Fuji Television Network Inc. program his determination to press ahead with the consumption tax hike, while Abe said he will decide whether to raise the tax in the fall of 2013 after examining economic indicators for the April-June quarter next year.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, chief of the LDP’s ally New Komeito, suggested the sales tax hike should come after boosting the economy by monetary easing and other measures. “It could be postponed if the economy cannot be improved by any means,” he said.

The three parties agreed in the summer to cooperate on social security and tax reforms, including the plan to raise the consumption tax rate.

Japan Restoration Party leader Shintaro Ishihara said a sales tax hike could win public approval if the revenue raised is used for social welfare, but Your Party leader Yoshimi Watanabe and Tomorrow Party of Japan chief Yukiko Kada expressed opposition to it.