Abe to decide on sales tax hike in fall

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Wednesday his administration will decide around October whether to raise the consumption tax to 8 percent from the current 5 percent in April 2014.

“We will make a judgment while carefully observing the economic situation” based on government data such as the April-June gross domestic product, Abe said in the Diet.

Legislation for a pair of consumption tax hikes enacted in August stipulates as a nonbinding target that the government will seek to achieve nominal economic growth of around 3 percent and real growth of about 2 percent, with prices rising by 1 percent.

The economy grew at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent in the final three months of last year in inflation-adjusted terms, marking the first expansion in three quarters.

The consumption tax is scheduled to be lifted in two stages to 10 percent in October 2015.