Business / Economy

Japan's government pledges to act swiftly if economy slows after tax hike

JIJI

The government has pledged that it will act swiftly, with steps that could include compiling stimulus measures, if the domestic economy shows signs of a slowdown following the recent consumption tax hike.

At a meeting Thursday of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, participants reviewed economic trends both at home and abroad since the hike in the consumption tax rate from 8 percent to 10 percent on Oct. 1.

“It’s vital for us to act without delay while carefully examining macroeconomic conditions,” Abe said, calling on members of the panel to pay close attention to downside risks in overseas economies and a potential fall in domestic demand after the hike.

“If downside risks become evident, we should implement full-fledged measures in a timely manner without hesitation in order to ensure that Japan’s economy is firmly on a growth track,” Abe said.

Private-sector members of the council said there were concerns over a slowdown in trade and business investment across the globe. They also urged the government to keep a close eye on consumption trends and the number of tourists coming to Japan from overseas.

They emphasized the importance of making efforts to maintain the virtuous economic cycle after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The private-sector members also called on the government to draw up as soon as possible details — including the scale — of an envisioned policy in which local governments will give points to holders of My Number identification cards from the summer of 2020, when a state-managed point reward program introduced this month to ease the pain of the consumption tax hike is scheduled to end.

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