Japan ruling party eyes July 11 poll – media

TOKYO, June 10 (BestGrowthStock) – Japan’s ruling party is leaning
towards holding an upper house election on July 11 to take
advantage of a jump in support ratings since new Prime Minister
Naoto Kan took the helm, media said, but this risks upsetting a
coalition ally.

The Democratic Party will stay in power no matter who wins
the upper house poll by virtue of its majority in the lower
house, but it needs a decisive win in the upper chamber to smooth
policymaking, including efforts to rein in the huge public debt.

About 40 percent of voters intend to cast their ballots for
the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) in the upper house election,
expected in July, newspaper polls showed on Thursday.

That was a sharp rise from about 20 percent in the final days
of Kan’s unpopular predecessor, Yukio Hatoyama, who quit last
week after just eight months in office.

The Democrats’ small coalition partner, the People’s New
Party (PNP), is insisting that a controversial law to roll back
privatisation of the giant postal system be passed during the
current session of parliament.

But as the current session is set to end on June 16, enacting
the law would likely require that parliament be extended.

A two-week extension would make July 25 a more likely date
for the election, media said.

A senior PNP official said on Wednesday that his party might
bolt the coalition if the bill is not enacted in line with an
agreement between Kan and PNP party head Shizuka Kamei, who is
also banking minister, although some analysts doubt whether the
party would follow through on the threat.

Some in the Democrats are wary of the postal bill, which the
financial industry says could lead to the postal system’s banking
and insurance services eating into their business.

The United States and Europe also said last month that the
draft postal reform legislation had not addressed their concerns
about what they see as the preferential treatment that Japan Post
receives compared with private-sector companies.

Japan Post is the world’s largest financial conglomerate with
financial assets of about 300 trillion yen ($3.3 trillion).

Media polls on Thursday also showed more than half of voters
support the new government’s plan to consider raising the 5
percent sales tax to fix Japan’s tattered finances.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Japan ruling party eyes July 11 poll – media