NISHINOMIYA, HYOGO PREF. – Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda on Saturday expressed hope that Diet deliberations on his proposed sales tax hike will begin this month, despite speculation the debate could be delayed until the end of Golden Week in May.
“No one has decided that deliberations will begin after the (Golden Week) holiday period,” Noda told reporters during a visit to Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, where he attended a forum on his planned social security and tax reforms.
Noda said that once all obstacles have been cleared, his ruling Democratic Party of Japan will seek to promptly start parliamentary discussions on raising the consumption tax.
He also voiced hopes that the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, the largest opposition groups, will respond positively to his calls to begin talks with the DPJ, in a bid to win their cooperation to pass tax hike legislation through the divided Diet.
The Cabinet approved a bill March 30 to increase the current 5 percent sales levy to 8 percent in April 2014 and to 10 percent in October 2015, to secure additional funds to cover soaring social security costs.