Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda managed to get the Lower House to pass the contentious tax hike bill, but his troubles are far from over, as demonstrated by the no votes cast by the Democratic Party of Japan's kingpin, Ichiro Ozawa, and more than 50 of his followers.

Although Ozawa, when speaking to his allies Tuesday, apparently stepped back from his threat to immediately leave the DPJ and form a breakaway party, it is still unclear what his camp plans to do next.

With such uncertainty surrounding the DPJ, the prime minister, whose support rate is also dropping, will no doubt have an even harder time trying to lead and get other bills passed in the divided Diet, especially in the months until Sept. 8, when the extended legislative session is scheduled to end.