Hatoyama eyes talks on raising sales tax

Kyodo News

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Thursday he is willing to hold talks on raising the consumption tax to pay for the mounting costs of social security.

“I would like to hold active discussions on the consumption tax to intensively cover social security costs,” he said during deliberations on a bill for monthly child-rearing allowances in the Upper House Health, Labor and Welfare Committee.

Hatoyama has promised not to raise the 5 percent consumption tax during the current four-year term for House of Representatives lawmakers through 2013 and focus instead on cutting government waste.

Hatoyama’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan is aiming to enact the child allowance bill in the Upper House on Friday.

The bill would provide ¥13,000 a month for every child of junior high school age or younger in the next fiscal year.

The DPJ wants to raise the amount to ¥26,000 a month in fiscal 2011 and beyond as promised during last summer’s election but has yet to secure the necessary financial resources.

Hatoyama reiterated that his administration would find the money by cutting wasteful spending and not by issuing new government bonds, which, he argues, would be a burden on future generations.

The ruling bloc on Wednesday enacted the fiscal 2010 budget, which, despite falling tax revenues, is a record ¥92.3 trillion.