58% of poll respondents oppose consumption tax hike

Fifty-eight percent of respondents in a nationwide survey in Japan are opposed to the government’s policy of doubling the consumption tax rate in stages by the mid-2010s, according to The Tokyo Shimbun daily Sunday.

The poll suggests that many of the respondents are against the consumption tax hike because of the added burden on the public, especially those with low incomes, at a time when there are growing concerns about Japan’s economic outlook in the wake of the rising yen and the debt crisis in Europe.

The poll also found that 72 percent are in favor of a general election before laws on the planned sales tax hike are enacted. Noda has said he may go to the people but not until after the relevant legislation has been passed by parliament.

The poll also showed that the majority of respondents, 52 percent, backed the move for Japan to join negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.

The survey, based on face-to-face interviews, was conducted on 3,000 people on Dec. 17 and 18 by a nationwide opinion poll body organized by Kyodo News and 38 of its members. Of the total, 1,756 replied, a response rate of about 58 percent.