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With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe determined to increase the sales tax next year, the government is testing public reaction to a string of potential measures to ensure people keep spending.

The most recent bump in the levy — from 5 percent to 8 percent in 2014 — underscores the risks to consumption. Spending spiked ahead of the change and then dropped sharply when it took effect, sending the economy into reverse for a quarter and damping inflation for even longer.

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