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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed Tuesday that the government will raise the consumption tax rate from the current 5 percent to 8 percent from April 2014. He apparently believes that the Japanese economy is strong enough to weather the likely negative impact of the tax increase — an economic slowdown due to consumers tightening their purse strings — but there is no guarantee that things will go as he wishes.

Mr. Abe said in his statement that the consumption tax hike is necessary to make social welfare services sustainable. But measures the government is to take in connection with the tax hike are mainly aimed at beefing up support for businesses rather than helping out households. Given its track record, there is a strong chance that the government will rely on pork-barrel projects to stimulate the economy, which would defeat the very purpose of the consumption tax hike — the restoration of Japan’s financial health.

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