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Japan PM faces test in parliamentary poll

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Japan PM faces test in parliamentary poll


Japanese voters go to the polls tomorrow in parliamentary elections that could deliver a bloody nose to a government seeking to get to grips with the economy.

Opinion polls show sagging support for Japan’s ruling DPJ which won a landslide victory last year.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s party has been struggling ever since he suggested a possible tax hike.

Professor of International Relations at Temple University Phil Deans said: ‘‘Well Japan like many countries is facing severe economic problems. It’s spending too much and not raising enough in tax. So the ruling party has gone into this campaign with the unusual promise of increasing consumption tax, which of course will never make them popular. But there is an understanding across all the political parties that something needs to be done.’‘

Kan, Japan’s fifth leader in three years, only replaced his predecessor last month.

He has denied any tax rises will be imminent, but floating the taboo topic has not gone down well with the electorate.

Even though the outcome of Sunday’s vote will certainly not see a change in government, the DPJ needs a parliamentary majority to avoid policy deadlock, something polls suggest it’s unlikely to get.

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