DPJ leaders forge late-night consensus on reform bills
Leaders of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) announced early Wednesday that the party had reached a consensus on two tax and social security reform bills. The five-hour meeting of about 200 party lawmakers on Tuesday night came after a first meeting ended in failure on Monday night, Fuji TV reported.
DPJ Secretary-General Azuma Koshiishi and DPJ policy affairs chief Seiji Maehara chaired the meeting which was aimed at getting dissenters to agree to a vote in the lower house by Thursday on the two bills which were agreed upon after a week of cross-party talks last Friday.
But DPJ heavyweights Ichiro Ozawa and former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama have repeatedly said they will not support the bill to raise the consumption tax to 10% and intend to urge their supporters to oppose a vote in the Diet unless further discussions are held—which could potentially split the DPJ.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who is due back from the G-20 summit in Mexico on Wednesday morning, is desperate to have the bills voted on in the lower house on Thursday. During the summit, Noda told his counterparts that his government is committed to passing tax and social security reform legislation, NHK reported.