When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met the news media after deciding to raise the consumption tax next April, he stressed that his administration can pursue economic growth and fiscal discipline at the same time.

The declaration Tuesday, which almost sounded as if he was reassuring himself, betrays the fact that the decision to increase the tax to 8 percent from the current 5 percent to cover swelling welfare costs was a tough call.

"There is no other way for us than achieving economic revival and fiscal restoration at the same time," Abe said.