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Abe sticks to script on sales tax hike plans after deadly quakes

46 Comments
By Kaori Kaneko and Linda Sieg

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46 Comments
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The government is sticking with plans to raise the sales tax next year, barring a financial crisis or a major natural disaster,

And the earthquake in Kyushu doesnt qualify? Right, if the disaster doesnt hit Kasumigaseki it won't make a difference.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

barring a financial crisis

Well, then it's pretty much assured he will not stick to script. If we somehow manage to avoid a financial crisis until next year, then his tax hike should be enough to tip us into one.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

It is interesting that Abe decided to make this announcement now, while the disaster is still unfolding. It is almost a slap in the face to the people of Kumamoto that their earthquake and suffering doesn't qualify as a major disaster, thus the tax increase will go ahead.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Idiot

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Abe congratulations, you win the first prize in the category "One of the worst PM's in Japan"

9 ( +11 / -2 )

So anything less than 3/11 is not a 'major' disaster? I'm sure it gives the people of Kumamoto great comfort to know that what they're going through now isn't 'major'.

Abe himself is a major disaster.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

He has to stay on script because threatening people with a tax hike is the only thing that will (temporarily) boost spending as people stock up on things before the increase. If the tax hike is going to change it'll most likely be a 'last' minute decision (even if it's something they've decided on a long time ago.)

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Stupid.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

As always: he (Mr. Abe) will do it his way, ya know: the right way, the wrong way and "My Way"!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

He'll never get re-elected thats for sure ~

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Forget abe being an idiot, that's been established many times before, abe MAY go ahead with the tax hike saying its to "help" Kyushu with its recovery.......

The govt has lied to us before, remember the last hike was SUPPOSED to be for various social issues, health, pensions etc that has already been long forgotten............

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Abe Abe Abe .... Out out out !

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@BuBuBu That's exactly what I was thinking.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

on one hand i applaud abe for sticking with the tax hike. instead of kicking the can down the road, he is forcing japan to suck it up and get its finances in order. on the other hand, it will just mean consumers will save more instead of spending. but

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

Any word on investigations into the Panama Papers? Of course not, we don't want to hurt the job crearters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is almost a slap in the face to the people of Kumamoto that their earthquake and suffering doesn't qualify as a major disaster, thus the tax increase will go ahead.

It is a major disaster for the people in the area impacted. It is not a major disaster in terms of Japan as a whole. It is not even a major disaster in terms of Kyushu where the bulk of the population is in and around Fukuoka and Nagasaki, neither of which have been substantially impacted by the Kumamoto-Oita quakes.

The Hanshin quake of 1995 was a much more significant event because it hit major cities, severed national communications lines, and seriously disrupted industrial production. The Kumamoto-Oita quakes are more like Katrina. Very bad news for the people in the immediate area. Not that significant for the nation as a whole.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

What happened to the 3rd Arrow script?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

He had better not show his face in Kumamoto after this shocking statement. To say what happened there is not a major disaster is the understatement of the year. Wakey wakey people....somebody say something and stop this fool. But that aint gonna happen. All his cronies are only interested in securing their own positions.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I honestly think that he is sticking to his script, in that he will announce a delay right before elections to try to bolster his party's image.

That being said, his comments were extremely inappropriate. Kumamoto and Oita total population is about 3 million, so he is basically saying "screw you, your disaster is peanuts" to a lot of people.

The tax hike should be postponed indefinitely. First priority should be economic stability, which should then be followed by setting financial order. Trying to go the other way would certainly create a disaster.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

bullfighter - I have to disagree just on Nagasaki's local news last night they were talking about how the quake is already causing people to cancel vacation plans to the region. With golden week right around the corner there is going to be a lot of money lost due to this disaster, not to mention the hits to the island as a whole as earthquake fear prevents people from visiting.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

That's going to chip away his Lower House majority, I hope!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tax hike legacy: the sole aspect of Abenomics where the author kept his word?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

No compassion whatsoever. Yet, totally predictable.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

He'll never get re-elected thats for sure ~

. . .but where will the sheepish voters turn to? The Japanese really have terrible options.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

By the time the dust settles, let's tax everyone rebuilding their home 10%

What a heartless (insert word of your choice)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Abe sticks to script on sales tax hike plans

It's all he knows how to do

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Tell me exactly what you're going to do with extra tax income in detail, only then I might be willing to pay extra tax.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And tomorrow he'll be saying that he was 'misunderstood, and nothing has been decided 100%', once the firestorm over his comments sinks in. The man basically is incapable of explaining why a tax hike should not be postponed, so he's doing it. It will be a complete disaster; one so bad and so immediate that within a year they will be talking about the need to raise consumption tax to 15% to 'make up for losses and a lack of spending', and the cycle will continue.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I am never seen so heartless people at the head of a country. There are still thousands of people homeless sleeping in their cars as we wrote, some even starving it seems, in a situation similar to some refugees and the only govt's response, that could not wait, is "We plan to raise tax", almost like already salivating on the 2% extra they will cash on the reconstruction.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Yeah...keep taxes high on food and medicine and yet (relatively) low on cigarettes. Thanks a lot. He may flip flop again, however.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You may not like it but it is well over due to save National Health Care. Otherwise it will be on the collapse. Why nobody are talking about a paycut of politicians salary? Interesting.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I honestly think that he is sticking to his script, in that he will announce a delay right before elections to try to bolster his >party's image.

or vote a special stimulus package for the old people living in area where vote disparities are two-fold and more right before the election....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tell me exactly what you're going to do with extra tax income in detail, only then I might be willing to pay extra tax.

Willingness has nothing to do with it. If you live in Japan, you're going to have to pay it whether you're willing or not.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

smithinjapan,

why not give him a new title, like "Teflon-Abe" .....

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan is likely in recession at this moment, and has been enduring a financial crisis since 1991. Each increase in the consumption tax has cost the economy more in lost growth and reduced GDP than whatever additional revenue it has added. But Abe will get to hand out a few trillion more yen of our money to his friends to "offset" the damage done by the tax increase. Since the voters are sheep, they are blind to the perverse logic of how money must be spent to offset less money being collected, and the obvious logic that it would be easier not to increase the tax in the first place.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

He'll never get re-elected thats for sure ~

Why does anyone assume or even think this. All Abe has to do is keep his fans in Yamaguchi happy and he will keep being reelected for life!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Willingness has nothing to do with it. If you live in Japan, you're going to have to pay it whether you're willing or not.

I know, but that's obviously not what I meant.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

He'll never get re-elected thats for sure

He will use "stimulus" spending to buy votes from the country folk (who have always voted for the LDP, and why we have such astronomical tariffs on imported food), and he will of course be reelected.

And when he eventually resigns, the trillions of our yen which he has spent will buy him advisory positions in those companies who were the main beneficiaries of this spending. The moment Abe leaves politics, you can bet he will get a huge pay raise. The same goes for politicians the world over, no one becomes a politician for the salary a politician earns, they become politicians for the graft they can squeeze out of their positions.

The main reason I am opposed to bigger government and more social programs is because the more money and power you give these guys, the more money they give to they friends, and the more power they have to take even more money to give to their friends (and often, to themselves).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Maybe this is what it will take for the people of Japan to kick this stupid clown to the curb once and for all.

Tax hike after yet another huge scale disaster. That's exactly what the public needs. More backbreaking by the government.

Get this clown away from the red button.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan can't just keep loading on more debts forever, every time another sadly inevitable natural disaster strikes Japan.

Hiking taxes is one approach. If it isn't palatable then the other options are to 1) slash spending by 40% of entire expenditure to balance the budget - which is going to hurt or 2) get the government out of the way of the economy so that it can grow - but this is going to entail some short term hurt too or 3) stick the old head in the sand and pretend that the government can just go more and more into debt without consequences, until one day that doesn't work anymore and the negative consequences of such mindless and reckless behavior come to fruition - this is a gamble because we might be able to get away with it for a while longer and leave the mess for our predecessor generations to suffer through and clean up instead, if we are lucky. But maybe we won't be and then we'll have created an avoidable disaster in addition to the natural ones we need to deal with.

I favour a balanced approach of 1, 2, but because Japan's problems are so bad those two won't be enough so some tax hikes on the current generation are required too, I'm afraid. (Option 3 is just stupid, IMHO)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Someone didn't catch my sarcasm...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes for postponing,no way for canceling,its not an option.Abe is doing the right thing,maybe he is not lucky about timing,but for sure he is right,no matter what dreamy idealistic,unrealistic left wing post. All best luck for Abe Shinzo and LDP in Summer elections.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

bi cultural and black sabbath,

you both called him stupid and an idiot. I'm not so sure anymore. The more I think about it the more I start to feel that maybe he isn't an idiot at all.

He's played the nationalism card well to not only get himself elected, but also to pass draconian laws very quickly while at the same time fleecing the taxpayers for any bit of spare change we have. He is less stupid and more of a cold, calculating evil tyrant who is out to profit himself and his cronies at ANY cost including the whole nation of Japan.

Abe congratulations, you win the first prize in the category "One of the worst PM's in Japan"

One of the worst? try THE worst. I mean, who was worse?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

its pointless raising a tax if people reaction is refusing to spend, resulting in lower tax revenue as a result. the raise next year will most definately tank the economy and itll take longer than the last before the economy will recover. the economy needs a much longer prolonged recovery before the shock of another tax hike is justified. otherwise you just flogging a dead horse

2 ( +2 / -0 )

its pointless raising a tax if people reaction is refusing to spend, resulting in lower tax revenue as a result.

That's what Abe has said. But tax revenues are not low at the moment, they have actually increased since the last consumption tax hike. (Still nowhere near enough to cover the government's overspending though.)

the raise next year will most definately tank the economy and itll take longer than the last before the economy will recover.

It won't be good for the economy, sure, but the alternatives wouldn't be a picnic either. The pain-free option in the short term is to kick the can down the road, and hope that the consequences of the massive debts the government continues to rack up play out at a later time when the problem has been inherited by a future generation. Hopefully.

But I'd rather suck up the consequences of the problem now, and then have a better future to look forward to, for me and the kids. Deal with the problem now, then have confidence about the future - that's when I'd spend more money.

the economy needs a much longer prolonged recovery before the shock of another tax hike is justified. otherwise you just flogging a dead horse

I hear this argument, but don't understand it. Is hiking taxes not going to be a drag on the economy later? The medicine (combination of spending cuts, tax hikes, regulatory reforms) is going to taste bad no matter when it's taken. So JMHO but let's give the horse the medicine now, and get it back on its feet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe this is what it will take for the people of Japan to kick this stupid clown to the curb once and for all.

We may hope

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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