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The government should hike the sales tax and cut public spending over the next eight years in an attempt to balance the national budget, an influential business organization said Thursday.

In its proposal for tax and fiscal reform, the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai) — one of Japan’s three leading business groups — said the government should raise the current 5 percent sales tax to 16 percent by fiscal 2010 and 19 percent by 2020.

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