Japan prime minister Noda survives no-confidence vote
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's prime minister survived a no-confidence motion on Thursday after reaching an 11th hour deal with a major opposition party over his much-cherished sales tax bill.
Mr Yoshihiko Noda brushed off the attack by a phalanx of minor parties, including former rebels from his own disintegrating bloc, which comes ahead of an expected vote Friday on his plan to double consumption tax.
The main opposition Liberal Democratic Party had, in recent days, begun to renege on its promise to back the legislation, which independent commentators say is a good first step on the long road to overhauling Japan's huge debt pile, worth twice its GDP.
But after exacting a somewhat vague promise from the premier that he would hold a general election "in the near future", the LDP - who are expected to be the main beneficiaries of his sliding popularity - indicated they would not support the move.