June 10, 2008 / 11:29 AM / 11 years ago

Japan opposition to submit PM censure motion Wednesday

TOKYO, June 10 (Reuters) - Japan’s main opposition party plans to submit a non-binding censure motion against Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in parliament on Wednesday in a bid to pile pressure on a leader whose public popularity has plunged.

The censure, likely to be adopted as opposition parties control the upper house, would be the first against a prime minister under a constitution drawn up over 60 years ago.

While embarrassing, it will not oblige him to resign or call an election.

Analysts say the opposition Democratic Party move would do little more than remind the public of Fukuda’s weak leadership in the face of a divided parliament.

His support ratings have tumbled to below 20 percent in some polls as he struggles to pass bills, prompting talk that the ruling party may replace him after he hosts a Group of Eight summit next month.

The opposition has been pushing for an election but Fukuda rejected this again on Monday.

No general election need be held until September 2009 and the ruling bloc is wary of an early poll given the risk of losing its two-thirds majority in the lower house that now enables it to override upper house vetoes in most matters.

Democratic Party officials have said the censure motion would target Fukuda’s launch of a confusing national health insurance scheme that has outraged many elderly and long term supporters of the ruling party. (Reporting by Chisa Fujioka; Editing by David Fox)

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