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Despite the Cabinet’s approval Friday of a sales tax hike bill that sparked months of dissent and resistance from the ruling party’s ranks, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda may find that in the deadlocked Diet, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Noda’s plan to raise the levy is still fiercely opposed by many Democratic Party of Japan members loyal to ex-leader Ichiro Ozawa, while the opposition camp will use every means necessary to grind Diet deliberations to a standstill and force a snap poll.

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