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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should again abandon his oft-delayed plan to hike the consumption tax this year because it risks pushing Japan’s economy into recession and hampering efforts to generate stable inflation, according to former economy minister Heizo Takenaka.

“Of course a sales tax hike would increase the possibility of a recession,” said Takenaka, now a professor at Toyo University. “That’s why managing the economy this year is extremely difficult.”

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