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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 January 22 - 28  > Abe should admit his error in bulldozing through consumption tax hike
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2020 January 22 - 28 [ECONOMY]

Abe should admit his error in bulldozing through consumption tax hike

January 28, 2020

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

It has become evident that after the Prime Minister Abe Shinzo-led government increased the consumption tax rate to 10% in October 2019, household consumption went down and the economy became stagnant. The Abe government should acknowledge its mistake and decrease the tax rate to 5% without delay in order to improve people’s livelihoods and the economy.

Economic indicators released after October’s consumption tax hike show dismal results. Household consumption fell on a year-on-year basis in October and November 2019. Economic condition indexes which the Cabinet Office publishes every month indicated that the economy was “worsening” in November 2019 for four months in a row. In the same month, commercial sales recorded a year-on-year decline of 6.5%. Supermarket sales in 2019 suffered the fourth consecutive decrease. A survey by the major credit research firm Tokyo Shoko Research has found that the number of bankruptcies with debts of 10 million yen or more increased in 2019 from the previous year for the first time in eleven years.

Citing these data, Japanese Communist Party Chair Shii Kazuo on January 23 at the plenary meeting of the House of Representatives urged PM Abe to face up to the fact that the consumption tax hike has delivered a severe blow to the economy with small- and medium-sized businesses being most adversely affected. However, Abe in his reply refused to take a serious attitude and only insisted that the government has sufficiently implemented measures to minimize possible adverse impacts of the consumption tax increase. He turned his back on the hardships consumers and small businesses are having to contend with.

The government can secure enough funds necessary to reduce the consumption tax rate and implement measures to support people’s livelihoods if it decides to have large corporations and the rich shoulder their fair share of tax burdens and to stop buying large amounts of U.S. military hardware. In order to rectify the situation, it is essential to create a government with a totally different mindset. The need now is to put an end to the anti-people Abe government and establish a people-oriented government through the collaboration of opposition parties with concerned citizens.

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