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Timeline for June 2016

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō postpones the consumption tax hike, Tokyo Governor Masuzoe Yōichi resigns, and campaigning begins for the House of Councillors election. Look back at the main stories of June 2016.
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Fiscal Concerns Grow as Abe Again Postpones Consumption Tax Hike

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō announced on June 1 that he would postpone raising the consumption tax from 8% to 10% until October 2019. The decision marks the second time for Abe to delay the hike, putting it a full four years later than planned. It was initially slated to take effect in October 2015 but was pushed back to April 2017 over recessionary concerns. During the press conference announcin…
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The Political History of the Consumption Tax

In June 2016, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō once again postponed the next consumption tax hike. The rate will climb from 8% to 10% in October 2019, fully four years after the originally planned date. In this article we trace the history of consumption tax policy in Japan.
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Timeline for May 2016

US President Barack Obama visits Hiroshima, the Group of Seven summit is held in Mie Prefecture, and Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors enter a capital alliance. Look back on the major Japan news stories of May 2016.
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Abe’s Growth-First Fiscal PolicyTobias Harris

On June 30, the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the Japanese government’s leading economic advisory council, issued the 2015 version of its Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform. This is a blueprint for the government’s economic policy agenda for the current fiscal year and the following fiscal year’s budgetary process, which starts in the summer. While drafting the…
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Getting Serious About Fiscal Reform: Beyond Smoke and MirrorsOguro Kazumasa

Prime Minister Abe’s commitment to fiscal retrenchment has come under question since his cabinet delayed a planned tax hike and approved the biggest budget in history. While the government claims to have met its interim deficit reduction target, Oguro Kazumasa questions its accounting methods and warns that tough choices are still needed to avert a fiscal meltdown.
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The Burden of Inheritance: An Already High Tax Expands Its ReachAramaki Yoshihiro

Japanese, in anticipation of the hike in inheritance taxes taking effect on January 1, 2015, flocked to seminars given by banks and real estate firms to learn about countermeasures. Aramaki Yoshihiro, a certified public accountant, believes that the “democratization” of the inheritance tax will change how the Japanese approach asset management.
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Bolder Reforms Needed to Drive Abenomics ForwardFukuda Shin’ichi

Financial markets have responded favorably to Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s policies, and asset prices are up, but real wages are still declining. To achieve a solid recovery, higher productivity and bold structural reform will be essential.
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Kuroda Launches Fresh Salvo in Effort to Stimulate Economy

The Bank of Japan’s October 31 surprise announcement of a fresh round of quantitative easing comes at a crucial time in Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s bid to revive the Japanese economy through his Abenomics policies. Japan’s economic growth has stagnated since the government moved in April 2014 to increase the consumption tax by three points to 8%. Allowing the economy to remain flat would seriously…
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Confronting Japan’s Unpleasant Fiscal ArithmeticKobayashi Keiichirō

The Japanese government has faced stiff resistance to planned increases in the consumption tax, the first of which was implemented on April 1. But according to recent calculations, even the 10% rate scheduled for 2015 pales beside the revenue increases needed to avert a financial meltdown over the next few decades. Keiō University economist Kobayashi Keiichirō reviews this “unpleasant arithmetic” and urges the government to plan accordingly.
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