Japan lawmakers to approve long-awaited tax hike
TOKYO (AFP) - An unpopular bill to double Japan's sales tax and partially plug its gaping debt hole is set to be passed by lawmakers on Friday in a triumph for the prime minister that could also herald the end of his job.
The legislation, which will at the same time revamp the country's teetering social security system, has been the main focus of Mr Yoshihiko Noda's 11-month premiership.
Its expected passage will be a rare tangible achievement in the revolving door world of Japanese leaders that has seen six new men step into the role in as many years.
Without a majority in the upper house, Mr Noda is having to rely on his conservative opponents, who have demanded the premier call a general election in exchange for their support.