INTERVIEW: New Japan Minister Vows to Keep Economy Vibrant


Tokyo, Sept. 21 (Jiji Press)--Japan's new economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura has vowed to take all possible measures to keep the domestic economy afloat after the planned consumption tax increase from 8 pct to 10 pct on Oct. 1.

"Demand is solid at home, but weak abroad," he said in an interview with Jiji Press and other media organizations, adding that overseas risks, such as trade issues and Britain's planned exit from the European Union, require close monitoring.

"We'll fully explain to the public measures aimed at easing the pain of the consumption tax increase, such as keeping the tax rate at 8 pct for some products and issuing gift certificates with 'premium' coupons to certain households," he said. If these measures gain understanding, negative impacts of the tax hike on the economy can be minimized, Nishimura said.

"If changes occur in economic conditions (after the tax hike), we'll act firmly without hesitation," he emphasized. "We're fully committed to appropriate economic management." Nishimura took up the ministerial post in a cabinet reshuffle carried out by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this month.

Nishimura noted that a last-minute surge in demand ahead of the consumption tax increase is believed to have not been large compared with that observed before the tax rate was raised to 8 pct from 5 pct in April 2014. Domestic demand will unlikely take a sharp downturn after the upcoming tax increase, he added.

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