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At a press conference on the evening of Nov. 18, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that he would postpone by 18 months a consumption tax increase from 8 percent to 10 percent originally scheduled for October 2015 and that he would dissolve the Lower House of the Diet on Nov. 21.

Abe said his decision on the tax hike delay was based on the provision in the consumption tax law, which authorizes the government to postpone or call off a consumption tax raise should the national economy deteriorate more than anticipated. Abe also made clear that regardless of how the economy fares in the future, he won’t put off the consumption tax increase beyond April 2017.

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