Abe to name Kosai head of the Tax Commission

by Hiroko Nakata

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday he plans to appoint noted economist Yutaka Kosai, 73, as head of the Tax Commission to replace Masaaki Honma, who resigned under a cloud last week.

Honma was forced to step down Thursday after just one month on the job following accusations that he had used an apartment for public servants despite advocating that the government sell off such properties.

By appointing Kosai, Abe hopes to burnish his image, which has been tarnished by a series of scandals. In addition to the uproar over Honma, it was revealed that the government planted people in town hall meetings to speak in favor of government policies.

Kosai, who argues that deregulation spurs economic growth, is currently a senior adviser to the Japan Center for Economic Research.

“I respect Mr. Kosai for his deep insight into both fiscal and tax policies,” Abe said. “I’d like to ask him to produce balanced tax reforms.”

Kosai is expected to be formally approved as head of the tax panel at its first meeting of the year in January.

Abe had been considering Motoshige Ito, an economics professor at the University of Tokyo, for the post, but Ito reportedly declined the offer.

Kosai began his career in 1958 with the Economic Planning Agency. In 1981, he became a professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology. In 2003, he headed the Cabinet Office’s research arm.

Information from Kyodo added