Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara on Thursday gave Tokyo’s research commission on taxes the task of making “unprecedented suggestions” on tax system reform to the central government commission.
Ishihara spoke at the opening of the panel’s first meeting at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office. The commission, the creation of which was announced Friday, is Tokyo’s latest move in its quest to expand its tax base.
Ishihara said central government moves to reform the distribution of tax revenue to local governments have been stalled in what he called the “mid- and long-term stage (of talks).”
“I get the sense that in the Diet, midterm means 7 to 8 years and long term means 20 years,” he said. “I just can’t twiddle my thumbs and wait in the meantime.”
The move follows the passage of ordinances in both Tokyo and Osaka to secure independent and stable sources of revenue by taxing the gross profits of major banks operating within the cities.
But local government finances remain in critical straits, said Naohiko Jinno, a professor of economics at the University of Tokyo. Jinno was selected as the committee’s chairman during Thursday’s proceedings.
“The areas where more tax revenue can be gained are held by the central government,” Jinno said.
“There are limits to what a local government body can do without the cooperation of the central government.”
The committee’s 25 members — including business leaders, analysts and professors — will submit reports annually for three years and hope to submit a midterm report to the government’s commission in the fall.
“I have charged you with my lifeline,” Ishihara said before leaving the meeting.