Newspapers seek break from consumption tax hike


The Japan Newspaper Publishers and Editors Association is calling for a lower rate for publications when the consumption tax is raised in April 2014.

The association, headed by Asahi Shimbun Co. Chairman Kotaro Akiyama, is pitching the request as part of the movement to ease the impact of the tax hike on low-income households.

Daily necessities such as food have been put forward as items to which the lower rate should apply.

The association said the tax break should be applied to newspapers, books and magazines, including electronic media.

“Raising taxes on knowledge may weaken the nation,” it said in a statement Tuesday.

“For members of the public, the main players in democracy, to make the right decisions, it is important for them to be able to easily access information about politics, the economy and society.”

In Europe, where some countries have double-digit value-added tax rates, there is no tax on newspapers in Britain, Belgium, Denmark and Norway, but there is a 2.1 percent levy in France, 4 percent in Spain and Italy, and 7 percent in Germany, the association said.