JAPAN TO CONSIDER FISCAL STEPS TO COUNTER HIT FROM TAX RISE
Mayumi Otsuma and Kyoko Shimodoi
Bloomberg, June 20, 2013
Japan’s government is ready to provide extra spending if a sales-tax increase next year damps economic growth, a senior finance ministry official said.
“We must take appropriate action to counter” any decline in economic growth after the tax increase planned for April, Yuzuru Takeuchi, 54, parliamentary secretary for finance and a lower house legislator, said in an interview today in Tokyo. The government will also create a panel to encourage companies to raise wages, he said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is rolling out fiscal and monetary stimulus to help pull the economy out of a more than decade-long deflationary malaise. The government is grappling with supporting growth while trying to slow the increase in Japan’s debt burden, the developed world’s largest.
“If the government doesn’t announce a further fiscal package, we’re likely to see some payback” in growth from the boost in 2013 from government spending, said Masaaki Kanno, chief Japan economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo.
The economy may shrink an annualized 3.9 percent in the second quarter of 2014 after the sales tax is raised to 8 percent from its current 5 percent, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The tax will be further increased to 10 percent in 2015.
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