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Abe to go ahead with sales tax hike, says Machimura

JIJI

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will go ahead with a consumption tax hike in April next year as planned, a Liberal Democratic Party heavyweight claimed Sunday.

Abe is supposed to announce his decision on the tax hike before Oct. 7, when he leaves to attend a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

If Abe decides to start from scratch on the consumption tax hike, he would incur grave political damage, former chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said at a press conference after his LDP faction met in the resort town of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture.

Unless the consumption tax is raised to 8 percent from the current 5 percent in April, Abe, who is also president of the LDP, would face a severe backlash not only from his party but a number of other people, Machimura warned.

Machimura also criticized the prime minister for taking on advisers from the private sector. Too many advisers may hamper swift decision-making, he said.