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Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012
Noda again rebuffs call for general election
By MASAMI ITO and NATSUKO FUKUE
Meeting Friday with the leaders of the two leading opposition parties, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda reiterated his conditional pledge to dissolve the Lower House "soon."
As a result, Noda, Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe and New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi will continue their game of chicken until either one side blinks or the government runs out of money in November.
Noda is sticking to his demand that the opposition forces agree to enact the legislation necessary to issue deficit-covering bonds before he will dissolve the Lower House and call a general election.
"I was surprised with (Noda's) answer. This is exactly the same as he said two months ago" to then LDP chief Sadakazu Tanigaki, Abe told reporters after the meeting.
"We can't build a relationship based on trust. Meeting Noda (again) would be meaningless if he keeps saying the same thing," Abe said.
Before dissolving the Lower House, Noda apparently wants to achieve at least three goals: to pass the special bond bill and another bill to fix the vote-value disparity in the Lower House, and establish a multipartisan council to discuss social security reform.
After the meeting, Noda also indicated his intention to continue drafting next year's budget, a move viewed by the opposition as saying he doesn't plan to dissolve the Lower House in the near future.
Abe and Yamaguchi have repeatedly demanded that Noda first specify the timing for the next election.