Page last updated at 07:01 GMT, Thursday, 12 June 2008 08:01 UK

Boost for Japan's beleaguered PM

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda sits in parliament on 11 June 2008
Mr Fukuda has come under fire for his handling of domestic issues

Japan's lower house has backed a confidence motion in Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, a day after the upper house passed a censure against him.

The ruling coalition used its majority in the more powerful lower house to support its beleaguered leader.

On Wednesday, the opposition-controlled upper house adopted the first - non-binding - censure against a prime minister since World War II.

It wants Mr Fukuda to call a snap election but he has ruled that out.

The opposition won control of the upper house in July 2007, and has used its power to block a series of government proposals, throwing the country into unprecedented political deadlock.

At the same time, Mr Fukuda's approval rating has fallen dramatically amid rows over lost pension records and a new compulsory health insurance scheme for the elderly.

The opposition accuse him of mismanaging domestic policy and have urged him to step down or call a general election.

But on Wednesday the top government spokesman rejected this idea.

"The prime minister isn't thinking of dissolving parliament or resigning. We are not in such a situation," Nobutaka Machimura said.

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