Noda Makes Consumption Tax Hike Pledge At G-20 Summit

The world’s poster child for losing decades looks to stay a step ahead:

(Nikkei)–Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda vowed Thursday to gradually raise the nation’s consumption tax to 10% by mid the 2010s during a summit meeting of the Group of 20 leading economies in Cannes, France.

The announcement at the summit has effectively made the tax hike an international pledge, and is expected to be included in an action program due out Friday.

Noda stressed the importance of rebuilding debt-ridden Japanese finances and told G-20 leaders that fiscal consolidation is a must “for Japan to be put back on a sound economic growth path, regardless of the debt crisis in the euro zone.”

He also spoke to reporters that a Diet dissolution should be carried out before implementing the tax hike. “If we go to the people in a general election (to seek a mandate on the consumption tax hike), we should do so after passing related bills but before implementing them,” he said.

As to Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, Noda told reporters he will accelerate efforts to iron out differences within the Democratic Party of Japan, which he leads. “We have to close ranks and shouldn’t be split,” he said.

Noda showed his flexibility in making concessions to a controversial redemption period of reconstruction bonds aimed at funding rebuilding efforts of the March 11 disaster, in hopes of enlisting support from the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, the main opposition parties.

“Our policy chief said that we envisage a 15-year period (for the redemption of reconstruction bonds), but there’s room for concessions,” he said.