• Kyodo


Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has suggested to the head of the Liberal Democratic Party that he is planning to hold a general election in early November, senior LDP lawmakers revealed.

Noda indicated around Aug. 8, when he met with LDP chief Sadakazu Tanigaki, that he doesn’t plan to compile a fiscal 2013 budget before holding a Lower House poll, which means he apparently envisions either Nov. 4 or 11 as election day, the lawmakers said.

The LDP, however, has rejected the idea, they said. It is calling for the dissolution of the Lower House within the current Diet session, which runs through Sept. 8.

The Aug. 8 meeting between Noda and Tanigaki was held to break the impasse on deadlocked deliberations over the contentious consumption tax hike.

It is the first time that Noda’s intentions for a specific election schedule have been revealed.

On the timing of the general election, Noda told reporters after the Aug. 8 meeting with Tanigaki, which New Komeito chief Natsuo Yamaguchi also attended, that he will “seek a public mandate sometime soon.”

Noda told the LDP that he doesn’t intend to compile the budget for next year under his current administration and indicated a new Cabinet should be launched before the budget compilation process starts in late November, they said.

Taking into account procedures such as the Diet’s selection of the prime minister and formation of a new Cabinet following an election, Noda appears to have in mind dissolving the Lower House in early October and holding the general election in early November.

Seeking an earlier poll, the LDP is expected to turn up the heat on Noda, including submitting a censure motion against him.

“The prime minister’s office is signaling that he has no intention of compiling the next fiscal year’s budget himself,” an LDP lawmaker said.

But given the timing indicated for the dissolution of the Lower House, “we have no choice but to resort to tough measures if this is the election schedule,” the lawmaker added.

Noda’s aides have told the LDP that the prime minister is willing to attend the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum on Sept. 8 and 9 in Vladivostok, Russia, as well as the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to be hosted in Tokyo from Oct. 12 to 14.

Separately, the prime minister’s office has told the LDP that Noda also has the option of dissolving the Lower House by the end of the current Diet session and holding a general election Oct. 7, the lawmakers said.

In the Aug. 8 meeting, Noda and the leaders of the two main opposition parties struck a deal to pass the sales tax hike and social security reform in exchange for a promise for the election to be held soon after the Diet passed the legislation.

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