Japan Upper House Set to Censure Two of Noda’s Cabinet Ministers

Japan’s two main opposition parties submitted parliamentary censure motions against two of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet ministers, and may boycott the next Diet session unless they are fired.

The Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party submitted the non-binding reprimands to the Upper House today against Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa and Consumers Affairs Minister Kenji Yamaoka. Ichikawa said this week he will cut his salary to take responsibility after a deputy compared the planned relocation of a U.S. military base on Okinawa to rape.

The opposition-controlled upper chamber is likely to pass the measures, undercutting Noda’s efforts to focus on rebuilding from the March earthquake and nuclear disaster. New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi said on Fuji TV last night his party is unlikely to attend parliament with censured ministers still in office. The Diet will adjourn today for the year.

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