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July 17, 2009

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Aso critics may ask him to resign

PRESSURE mounted on Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso yesterday after ruling party lawmakers called for a meeting to debate the party's ailing fortunes at which his harshest critics are expected to seek his resignation.

Aso's plan for an election on August 30 - announced just a day after the opposition Democrats trounced the conservative Liberal Democratic Party in a Tokyo metropolitan vote - has sparked chaos in the ruling party.

Polls show the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, whose platform includes pledges to break bureaucrats' grip on policy to cut waste and to pay more heed to the interests of consumers and workers, will likely win the national election due by October.

A Democrat victory would end more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the business-friendly LDP and improve chances of resolving a policy deadlock caused by a divided parliament, where the opposition controls the upper house and can delay bills.

Hirohisa Fujii, a veteran Democratic lawmaker seen as likely to get a key post if the party wins, said that the party would reduce new debt issuance by cutting wasteful spending in an extra budget for the year to next March.


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