Japan Fiscal Pressure Rises as Tax Increase Not Enough

Good luck to them:

Prime minister Yoshihiko Noda told parliament that he will move to double sales tax to 10pc, saying the future of the world’s third-largest economy depends on tackling its massive public debt.

Mr Noda said the country has “no time to spare” in cutting its fiscal burden.

“It’s impossible for young people to believe that things will get better tomorrow in a society where debts resting on future generations continue growing,” he said. “It is not too much to say that the revival of hope of the entire society depends on the success of this combined reform.”

Japan Fiscal Pressure Rises as Tax Increase Not Enough

By Mayumi Otsuma

Jan 24 (Bloomberg) — Japan’s government said it will probably miss its goal of balancing the budget by 2020 even with its proposed doubling of the sales tax, underscoring the scale of the nation’s fiscal challenges.

The primary budget deficit, which excludes the cost of servicing debt, will be the equivalent of 3.1 percent of gross domestic product for the year through March 2021, the Cabinet Office said in Tokyo today. Hours after the release, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda reiterated his call for opposition lawmakers to engage in talks on boosting the sales levy.

Addressing the shortfall through faster growth may be a limited option for Japan, where the central bank has already cut the key interest rate near zero and the traditional boost from a trade surplus last year evaporated — for the first time since 1980. Absent structural changes that boost incentives to spend and invest, today’s report signals further fiscal tightening will be needed to rein in the world’s largest public debt.

“To balance the budget, the rate needs to rise further,” said Takuji Okubo, chief Japan economist at Societe Generale SA in Tokyo, referring to the sales-tax level. “We’ve passed the point where we can soft-land the fiscal situation. The question is how hard the landing is going to be.”

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