Opposition parties criticized Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto’s policy reversal on Thursday and are ready to pressure him to step down over his economic policy failures during Diet deliberations.

Three opposition parliamentary groups submitted a request to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, demanding that Hashimoto explain his policy shift from economic austerity to pump-priming at the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives.

Naoto Kan, head of the Democratic Party of Japan, said Hashimoto should clearly explain his policy shift to the Budget Committee. Kan also demanded that Hashimoto clarify how he will take responsibility for the policy change.

Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, secretary general of Shinto Heiwa (New Peace Party), said Hashimoto’s responsibility is very serious in that he delayed making a decision on vigorous pump-priming measures. “During Diet deliberations, we demanded a revision of the fiscal 1998 budget bill. During those two months, many businesses went bust and many jobs were lost,” said Fuyushiba, representing the Heiwa-Kaikaku parliamentary group.

Fuyushiba also queried the effectiveness of the measures Hashimoto described, which include a tax cut worth 4 trillion yen. “Hashimoto said a 2 trillion yen tax cut would be implemented within this year and another 2 trillion yen next year,” he said. “We are demanding a total 4 trillion yen tax cut immediately.”

Although Fuyushiba said it is possible that his group will consider cooperating with other opposition parties in introducing a no-confidence resolution, he said it would not be good for the economy if such a move causes political turmoil.

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