Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered the ruling party's new tax panel chief to introduce special reduced tax rates for certain products such as foods and beverages in time for the planned April 2017 consumption tax hike, officials said Wednesday.

Abe's order, given to the Liberal Democratic Party's Yoichi Miyazawa, has ended a political row over the unpopular sales tax that had dragged on for weeks.

Senior members of the LDP's powerful tax panel had been reluctant to introduce the special reduced rate, which would greatly increase clerical work for the retail industry, a powerful lobby group often courted by the party.