TOKYO — Proposing a tax hike is normally a sure way to lose an election.
Yet Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan insists that's just what the country needs to do to rein in its bulging national debt.
In office just a month after his predecessor abruptly resigned, Kan has put repairing the country's strained finances at the center of the campaign for this Sunday's parliamentary elections.
The polls, in which half the seats in the 242-member upper house are up for grabs, is viewed as a referendum on the Democratic Party's 10 months in power since defeating the long-ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party. The Democrats have promised to cut wasteful spending and bring greater transparency to politics, but have had a mixed record in achieving that so far.
(Malcolm Foster. Tax hike talk dominates Japan's weekend election. The Associated Press. July 7, 2010.)