A top Japanese government official said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should delay a planned sales-tax increase, the strongest sign yet that economic weakness is causing concern among those close to the premier ahead of the difficult tax decision.
“I think it should be delayed” by a year and a half to April 2017, the prominent official told a small group of people in a recent conversation on condition of anonymity. He expressed concern that raising the national sales tax too soon after a damaging April hike could derail an economic recovery.
Powerful interests like the Finance Ministry, the Bank of Japan and major corporations want Abe to raise the tax as planned next year to keep Japan’s promise to reduce the biggest debt burden in the industrial world. But the economic and political environment is making it harder for Abe to make unpopular policy choices.
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