Noda urged to back ‘solidarity levy’ at G-20

Kyodo

Advocates of an “international solidarity levy” to aid the poor called Monday on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to use the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Cannes, France, to declare Japan’s intention to introduce such taxes.

Supporters of a tax on airline tickets and a levy on global financial and currency transactions, also known as a “Robin Hood tax,” submitted a petition to the office of Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tsuyoshi Saito.

The two-day G-20 meeting, which is expected to take up the issue, starts Thursday.

The advocates of the levy pointed out that G-20 chair France and other European countries have been actively discussing introduction of a tax on financial transactions and urged Japan to follow suit, saying imposing a levy on speculative trading would also help arrest the yen’s recent sharp rise to historic levels.

They said Japan can secure more than ¥600 billion a year by imposing a 0.005 percent tax on currency transactions and that the government can also use part of the funds for efforts to rebuild from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The solidarity levy is intended to raise funds to tackle such global challenges as poverty and climate change as an alternative to official development assistance, because many donor countries are now plagued by fiscal problems.

At present, about 15 countries including France, South Korea, Chile and Jordan have introduced an aviation levy to secure funds for development aid that involves efforts to help people fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Countries such as the United States remain opposed to imposing a levy on financial transactions, backed by objections from the financial industry.