Finance Vice Minister Fumihiko Igarashi on Sunday criticized DPJ Policy Affairs Chief Seiji Maehara's comments to a reporter on Saturday in which he said that the government needs to raise 5 trillion yen for reconstruction without raising taxes.
It was reported earlier this month that the government's Research Commission on the Tax System discussed reducing health care payouts for children and Japan Tobacco and plans to tap surplus funds estimated to total more than 1 trillion yen in the special account for fiscal investment and loan programs as part of non-tax sources to finance work to reconstruct areas hit by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
The government is said to be seeking non-tax funding resources to reduce tax increases estimated at 13 trillion yen for reconstruction efforts by scaling down projects under the special account for energy measures, while also considering selling shares it owns in Japan Post Holdings Co and Japan Tobacco Inc, according to a TV Asahi report.
The government is also said to be considering cutting child allowances and selling shareholdings in Tokyo Metro Co and Japan Post Holdings. But the sale of Japan Post shares, all of which are currently owned by the government, requires a postal reform bill to passed through the Diet.
Igarashi, however, strongly condemned Maehara's comments, calling them reckless and misleading. "Five trillion is way too high a figure. It is not just about funds. It's about how far the government should be seeking to control Japan's economy. To focus on the figure of 5 trillion yen is misleading," Igarashi was quoted by TV media as saying.© Japan Today