Japanese Prime Min[auth] ister Yoshihiko Noda speaks to reporters after meeting with ruling party legislator Ichiro Ozawa, who opposes a proposed tax increase, Sunday, June 3, 2012 in Tokyo. Noda was expected to reshuffle his Cabinet as he tries to woo the opposition to help pass the bill to increase taxes. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT, NO LICENSING IN CHINA, HONG KONG, JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA AND FRANCE
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s prime minister is expected to reshuffle his Cabinet as he tries to woo the opposition to help pass a bill to increase taxes.
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met Sunday with ruling party legislator Ichiro Ozawa, who opposes the proposed tax increase. The two said they failed to agree on the bill, meaning Noda needs opposition support to pass it.
Noda said after his meeting with Ozawa that he was in talks with the opposition, which is demanding the removal of two Cabinet ministers. Public broadcaster NHK reported that a Cabinet reshuffle was set for Monday.
Noda says the tax plan is needed to trim public debt and fund recovery costs from last year’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters. The plan calls for doubling the 5 percent sales tax by 2015.
Ozawa, who leads a major faction of lawmakers in the ruling party, has said reforms, recovery and cutting waste must come before asking the public to bear a bigger tax burden.
“It is unfortunate, but I was not able to gain his support,” Noda told reporters. “I will move forward with my talks (with the opposition).”
The opposition is demanding the removal of the defense minister, Naoki Tanaka, over gaffes and the minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism, Takeshi Maeda, because of allegations of misbehavior over an election.