• The Washington Post

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Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Saturday that his government “cannot sidestep” a controversial tax hike that has turned into the leader’s highest priority and largest potential stumbling block.

During a 30-minute group interview with 19 members of the international news media, Noda appealed for opposition cooperation on his tax plan, which would help the country pay for its escalating social security costs and ease global concerns about its massive debt.

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