Business, Hashimoto chew the fat over taxes

Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto met with business leaders June 16 in Tokyo and urged them to cooperate with him in his plans for fiscal reform.

In talks with Shoichiro Toyoda, president of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), and other business leaders, Hashimoto said the proposed measures may cause friction and be unpopular in some quarters, but that most difficulties could eventually be smoothed out, according to government officials.

After the government’s unveiling last week of its “Big Bang” financial reform package, business leaders were prompted into doing a quick study so that they would be able to react quickly, the officials said. In reply to Hashimoto, the business leaders called on him to reform the tax system by cutting corporate taxes, the officials said.

Said Ken Moroi, who heads a government panel on decentralization, “The government should revise the nation’s tax system to match global standards.” It was an implicit call for a reduction in corporate taxes. Hashimoto said that carrying out several reforms would lead to a revision of the tax system, the officials said.