18 Novembre 2012
November 17, 2012
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Friday that his Democratic Party of Japan will continue to take measures to boost the economy and pursue policies to eliminate all nuclear power plants in the country by the 2030s.
Noda, who dissolved the House of Representatives the same day, also promised that his party will move forward talks on free trade pacts, including the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, "while protecting what we should protect."
Speaking at a press conference, the prime minister said he dissolved the lower house for a general election on Dec. 16 to fulfill a promise to the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party and its ally the New Komeito party.
In August, Noda, then LDP chief Sadakazu Tanigaki and New Komeito head Natsuo Yamaguchi agreed on a deal to enact legislation to double the 5 percent sales tax rate by 2015, the prime minister's key policy goal, in exchange for a promise from Noda to call a general election "sometime soon."
Vowing to overcome the country's prolonged deflation and prop up the economy, Noda said the government will work closely with the Bank of Japan.
Noda also criticized recent remarks by LDP chief Shinzo Abe on the BOJ's monetary policy, saying they could undermine the central bank's independence.
On Thursday, Abe expressed hope that the BOJ would set its key policy interest rate below zero, urging the bank to stimulate lending even by keeping the interest rate below zero.