• Kyodo News

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The governors of 28 prefectures favor a hike in the consumption tax, a poll showed Thursday, reflecting an increase from 21 who supported a rise in a survey conducted two years ago.

Only the Osaka governor outright opposed raising the 5 percent sales tax, while the remaining 18 governors withheld their view.

As reasons for supporting a higher sales levy, most governors who responded positively cited increasing social security costs, according to the questionnaire conducted from late July through mid-August.

The poll also showed that 36 governors supported an expansion in the allocation of consumption tax revenues to local governments so they can make up for budget deficits amid the weak economy. Local governments are currently allocated 20 percent of consumption tax revenues.

On the timing of the sales tax hike, many governors said lengthy discussions, public acceptance and an economic recovery should precede any increase.

Three governors specifically mentioned 10 percent as the rate to which the consumption tax should be raised, while one governor said “at least a two-digit figure is necessary.”

On Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s remarks in June that the government would begin talks on the sales tax hike using as a reference the Liberal Democratic Party’s proposal to double the tax rate, 21 governors expressed appreciation for Kan’s remarks, while seven opposed them.

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