Dealing a blow to Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, 50 members of the Democratic Party of Japan, the country's ruling party, resigned Monday over disagreements with Noda's plan to double Japan's sales tax to 10 percent by 2015. Of those who tendered their resignations, 38 are members of the lower house of parliament, where a loss of 11 more seats would end the ruling party's majority and could force Noda to call new elections. The leader of the revolt, Ichiro Ozawa, has been a vocal critic of Noda's tax plan, and said that the ruling party has "betrayed" the public by teaming up with the opposition to push through the tax hike. The increase has passed the lower house, and is expected to be approved by "the less-powerful upper house since it has the backing of the two largest opposition parties."
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