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Japan’s prime minister retains leadership in ruling party

September 21, 2012, 12:03 UTC+3

Yoshihiko Noda promised Cabinet reshuffles in a bid to win back public support, which has dropped below 30 percent

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TOKYO, September 21 (Itar-Tass) — Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda retained his leadership position in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan in the party presidential election on Friday, remaining Japan's premier despite low public support for the party.

Noda easily defeated his three rivals, former agriculture ministers Michihiko Kano and Hirotaka Akamatsu and former former internal affairs minister Kazuhiro Haraguchi, having scored an overwhelming majority of the vote – 67.71 percent. Haraguchi finished second with 12.74 percent of the vote. Noda’s rivals accused him of numerous mistakes and blamed him for a recent split in the ruling party.

After being reelected as the ruling party leader, Noda promised Cabinet reshuffles in a bid to win back public support, which has dropped below 30 percent, in the run-up to general elections that are expected to be held before the yearend. Earlier, the Japanese premier promised the opposition to dissolve before long the current low parliament house a in exchange for support to his bill increasing taxes in a bid to reduce the government debt. Nonetheless, Noda seems to be delaying early election hoping to regain popularity.

His plans however might be ruined because of a split in the ruling party. Some of Noda’s opponents have pledged to quit the party if he remains its leader. If it happens, the Democratic Party of Japan might be stripped of its majority in the lower house, and hence, the opposition would be able to vote no-confidence to the premier forcing him to call early elections in an environment that is unfavorable for his party.

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