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Shinzo Abe, secretary general of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, indicated Sunday the government will have to raise the consumption tax in the future to finance the expected increase in social security costs.

“Social security benefits — payments for not only pensions but also other (benefits) — are expected to increase,” Abe said on a Fuji TV program. “We should basically use the consumption tax to deal with the problem.”

Appearing on the same program, Katsuya Okada, secretary general of the Democratic Party of Japan, said the consumption tax rate should be raised from the current 5 percent by about 2 percentage points at least five years from now to raise funds for pension benefits.

Okada said the question of whether to raise the tax rate gradually or all at once should be examined in the future.

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