DPJ to ask opposition for support on for tax hike


The ruling Democratic Party of Japan will formally ask opposition parties Monday for talks between party heads to secure their cooperation over a bill for a hike in the consumption tax rate, the DPJ’s Diet affairs chief said Sunday.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda “strongly hopes to promote debate between the ruling and opposition parties,” the DPJ’s Koriki Jojima told reporters after meeting with Noda at the premier’s official residence.

In addition to the sales tax hike proposal, Noda hopes to discuss with opposition leaders bills to issue deficit-covering bonds and to set up a new nuclear regulatory body, according to Jojima.

Opposition party leaders, however, generally remain reluctant to accept the premier’s call.

New Komeito party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi told reporters in the city of Kochi on Sunday that party secretary generals and Diet affairs chiefs should discuss how to proceed with parliamentary debate on the tax rate hike.

Yamaguchi was apparently siding with main opposition Liberal Democratic Party chief Sadakazu Tanigaki, who told reporters Saturday, “It is not necessary to repeatedly hold ceremonial talks between party chiefs.”