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NAGOYA — The prime minister Wednesday said that permanent income tax cuts would be included as part of government efforts in 1999 to give a shot in the arm to the nation’s moribund economy.

“For reforming the tax system, we would like to implement (permanent) tax reductions starting from next year that will have the support of the public,” Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said to a press conference.

Hashimoto, who is also president of the LDP, appeared negative about lowering the minimum level for taxable income, now now 3.61 million yen, because such a move would probably be criticized as a program that benefits the wealthy while hurting the poor.

He also said the government might hasten its efforts on determining how to bring corporate tax rates to international levels.

Hashimoto’s remarks pressured the yen lower against the U.S. dollar in Tokyo, where it was changing hands at 139.03-05 yen at 5 p.m., dealers said, because he didn’t make any specific references as to the type or size of the cuts.

Permanent income tax cuts would stimulate consumer spending, which might lead to an overall recovery in the economy.

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