Japan upper house votes to censure prime minister

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The opposition-dominated upper house of Japan's parliament has passed a nonbinding censure motion against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, putting in question prospects for approval of bonds to finance the country's budget.

Members of the Liberal Democratic Party and other opposition parties also said Wednesday they will refuse to participate in parliamentary proceedings, hoping to force Noda to dissolve the lower house of parliament and call elections.

Noda, who took office only last September, heads the Democratic Party of Japan, which still controls a majority in the more powerful lower house. He already has agreed to call elections later this year, most likely by early November.

The current parliamentary session ends Sept. 8, but lawmakers could reach a compromise and hold an extraordinary session to pass the budget finance bill.