Monday, September 9, 2013
DJ: PM Abe to Make Final Decision On Sales Tax Hike On Oct 1, Says Amari
TOKYO--Japanese economy minister Akira Amari said Monday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a final decision on a sales tax hike on Oct. 1.
"The prime minister will make his decision on the consumption tax on Oct. 1," Mr. Amari said in a speech he gave to investors in Tokyo.
Mr. Abe is expected to announce whether the government will go ahead with its plan to raise the national sales tax to 8% from 5% next April. The government's goal is to ultimately raise the levy to 10% in October 2015 to help fund the ballooning social welfare costs of its aging population.
An Oct. 1 announcement would enable the prime minister to take into account the Bank of Japan's latest tankan business sentiment survey, due for release that day, to determine whether the economy is in an "upturn"--a condition for the hike.
Mr. Amari told reporters earlier that a better-than-expected revised figure for gross domestic product growth in April-June was a "favorable factor" for pressing ahead with the sales tax plan.
The economy minister also said the government will "need to announce a package of economic measures at the same time" to help soften the blow of the tax hike to the country's budding recovery.