Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed Monday that it is he who will make the final decision on whether to raise the sales tax from April as planned, after many experts told government hearings last week that the hike should be implemented as scheduled.
“We need to raise (the sales tax) to finance the social security system,” Abe said at a meeting of his Liberal Democratic Party, adding, “We cannot improve public finances unless we secure economic growth. My mission is to achieve the two goals.”
“I will make a decision eventually after considering various economic indicators,” he said.
Abe is expected to make up his mind as early as this month, possibly before he attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meeting from Oct. 7 in Indonesia.
His latest remarks came after the government ended Saturday weeklong hearings with 60 experts such as economists, business leaders and consumer group heads.
Economic and fiscal policy minister Akira Amari said at a press conference later Monday that he will meet with Abe and submit opinions of the experts Tuesday, along with Finance Minister Taro Aso.
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