Shiokawa mulling big tax cuts for individuals

Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa indicated Sunday that 40 percent of the 1.5 trillion yen net tax cut he proposed will target taxes levied on individuals, in a bid to spur personal consumption.

Speaking on a Sunday talk show on Japan Broadcasting Corp., the minister said, “I am thinking of allocating around 60 percent primarily for companies and 40 percent for individuals.”

This means that of the proposed 1.5 trillion yen in cuts for fiscal 2003, 600 billion yen could go to helping alleviate tax burdens on individuals.

He said the proposals are aimed at easing the tax burden on individuals for transactions related to securities, land deals and asset inheritance.

In order to entice individuals to the securities markets, Shiokawa also indicated he is planning to present relevant bills to the next ordinary Diet session that convenes in January. He hopes to streamline tax rules on securities transactions.

Shiokawa also said he is in talks with trade and industry minister Takeo Hiranuma to help small businesses, many of which are faced with credit crunches, by offering more flexible loan guarantee arrangements.

Shiokawa, however, denied backing an increase in any outlays to offer safety nets for small firms.