Japan PM eyes snap election after backing US-led trade pact
The unpopular Noda may be hoping to emulate charismatic leader Junichiro Koizumi's bold election gamble in 2005 and use a call for a major economic reform to ease the bashing his Democratic Party is expected to suffer at the hands of disappointed voters.
The maverick Koizumi's pledge to privatise the giant postal system as a symbol of vital reforms, despite opposition from lawmakers in his own party, helped him lead the then- ruling Liberal Democrats to a stunning election victory.
Now Noda, with voter support for his cabinet below 20 percent, wants to enshrine backing for the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact in his Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) new campaign platform.
We will simultaneously pursue the TPP and the free trade agreement between Japan, China and South Korea and this stance will be included in our manifesto, Noda told reporters over the weekend.
But Noda faces opposition from his ruling party MPs who fear a backlash from Japan's politically powerful farmers. Japan's farmers say a flood of cheap agricultural imports will devastate their heavily protected, small-scale operations.
The main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) opposes joining the TPP negotiations if the end result is the elimination of all tariffs. The TPP aims to tear down traditional barriers
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