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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s priorities in his economic policies are clear and consistent — no fiscal rehabilitation without economic revival. In prioritizing economic growth and busting deflation over fiscal reconstruction, Abe has twice postponed the consumption tax hike to 10 percent through October 2019 but remains confident of achieving the government’s goal of eliminating the primary balance deficit by fiscal 2020.

The problem is, his own government’s estimate shows that Japan, even after growing at a robust pace never seen in the past two decades and finally raising the consumption tax in 2019, would still be short of the deficit target by ¥5.5 trillion. Under a scenario of slower growth that’s closer to the nation’s growth potential, the deficit of national and local governments combined would top ¥9 trillion, according to the latest Cabinet Office estimate.

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