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Azumi holds public briefing to explain consumption tax hike plan


Finance Minister Jun Azumi on Saturday held the first of several planned public briefings by the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to explain its proposal to raise the consumption tax from the current 5% to 10%.

Azumi spoke to about 160 local business representatives in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. He said that without the consumption tax hike, the nation's social security system will become unsustainable over the long term, NHK reported.

Azumi and two Finance Ministry vice ministers will travel around the country this month, trying to gain public understanding. Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada will also help with the briefings from February.

The government plans to raise the 5% consumption tax to 8% in April 2014 and to 10% in October 2015 to help cover ballooning social security costs.

However, opposition parties have refused to enter into negotiations on the proposal. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said last week that the government has to make a stronger case to the public.

But he faces a tough fight as the majority of Japanese are opposed to the rise, according to recent opinion polls. Some 79.5% are opposed to the plan without the government's effort to cut costs first by cracking down on wasteful use of tax money, Kyodo News agency said.

The Yomiuri Shimbun also reported 55% of the Japanese are opposed to the tax hike plan, while 39% support it. The Asahi Shimbun said 57% were against the tax hike.

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I hope the participants are also asking him explain why the government is not cutting back on its own costs as an initial measure.

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It wasn't a "public briefing" as ordinary members of the public were not allowed in. If they were, they might have asked why the government continues with the Yanba dam project when they already admitted it was a waste of money.

These meetings are only for show, the audience are selected and who asks which question is decided beforehand. The government don't want to hear the opinions of ordinary people. That the people still vote for these same clowns time after time is what surprises me.

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has to make a stronger case to the public

That's right. Give specific info on what they're going to cut and how much. As Scrote said, the Yanba project has discredited the current govt in its vague promises to "cut waste".

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60% of the these "town meetings" were staged from 2001 through 2006. My source also says 'public opinion was manipulated in order to instill government policy,''


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A stronger case to the public? We'll see how that works for ya!

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that must have been the shortest public meeting ever.

Azumi: "We will hike taxes whether you like it or not."

toothless audience; "はい”

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i will never understand. i would like to know exactly what they are doing with OUR money.

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They're building dams with it. These blokes have done an about-face on everything that differentiated them from the LDP. It's the bureaucrats and their friends in business and organised crime. It matters not a farthing who wins office or what the people say.

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Supply (decling birth rate) and Demand (increasing baby boomers entering retirement) are not equillibrium. That's what he needs to explain along with public spending cut and GDP growth.

USA is dealing with the same, however, SSI is in a different piggy jar unlike Japan.

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There is no "piggy jar or bank" for social security in the USA. What comes in every month from the fortunate people who have jobs plus money from loans from China, pay for the baby boomers' monthly checks. It is the responsibility of elected people in Congress to "bring home the bacon" in the form grants, etc. to their respective districts. It is called "pork barrel" legislation. If the money doesn't return, then the elected officials may not be re-elected. Japan must not let the doubling of it's consumption tax happen. The government will never lower the tax even if everyone over 65 unfortunately passed away a year after the enactment of the law. Keep the government officials sweating and wondering if they will be re-elected by making them budget wisely.

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Most likely this myth comes from a confusion between the financing of the Social Security program and the way the Social Security Trust Fund is treated in federal budget accounting. Starting in 1969 (due to action by the Johnson Administration in 1968) the transactions to the Trust Fund were included in what is known as the UNIFIED BUDGET.This means that every function of the federal government is included in a single budget. This is sometimes described by saying that the Social Security Trust Funds are "on-budget."

This budget treatment of the Social Security Trust Fund continued until 1990 when the Trust Funds were again taken OFF BUDGET.This means only that they are shown as a separate account in the federal budget. But whether the Trust Funds are ON BUDGET or OFF BUDGET is primarily a question of accounting practices--it has no affect on the actual operations of the Trust Fund itself.

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Why do they bother calling it a 'proposal' when the government has already decided it's a done deal? It reminds me of when they decide to build a new expressway and/or public works project, make a presentation, then ask about public approval but build it anyway when 90% are against it.

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