FOCUS: New Cabinet Faces Big Hurdles in Tax, Trade Areas

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 12 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's new cabinet faces big hurdles on the economic front, with the consumption tax imminent and Japan -U.S. trade negotiations entering the homestretch.

Japan will raise the consumption tax to 10 pct from 8 pct Oct. 1, just at a time when the world economy is reeling from the escalating U.S.-China trade war.

Meanwhile, Tokyo and Washington are stepping up preparations so that Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump can sign a bilateral trade agreement at their meeting later this month.

After the tax increase, the rate will be left unchanged at 8 pct for a handful of items, including food. Japan will thus shift to a two-tier tax rate system.

To ease the impact of the tax rise, the government will begin a reward system for consumers making cashless payments at small stores, granting points of up to 5 pct of the paid prices.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press