• Kyodo

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The newly appointed chief of the automobile dealers’ group said Monday that domestic automobile sales are likely to be affected by the first of two scheduled sales tax hikes in April.

Shigeki Sakurai, who was appointed as chairman of the Japan Automobile Dealers Association, told a press conference in Tokyo that the overall market is expected to be “severe,” and that the association “needs to brace for a sales decline after April,” when the sales tax will be hiked to 8 percent from the current 5 percent.

Sakurai, 63, president of a Nissan Motor Co. dealership in Shimane Prefecture, is replacing Masahiro Morikawa, who will assume the post of advisory board member.

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