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The Abe administration has begun fielding expert opinions on whether the nation’s economic condition can endure the second phase of the consumption tax hike next year. The Japanese economy has been losing steam in recent months as consumer spending remains sluggish following a hike in the tax rate to 8 percent in April, and some lawmakers belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and other parties are becoming more vocal in urging the government to postpone the planned additional hike to 10 percent in October 2015.

It is speculated that the Bank of Japan’s surprise move last week to sharply expand its monetary stimulus measures is aimed at setting the stage for the Abe administration to go ahead with the tax hike. The government is also reportedly weighing an extra budget to the tune of ¥3 trillion by the end of the year to shore up the economy’s sagging momentum.

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