Japan Opposition Parties Out of Step over Consumption Tax

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, Oct. 2 (Jiji Press)--Japanese opposition parties are struggling to keep in lockstep over the consumption tax after the government raised the rate of the tax to 10 pct from 8 pct on Tuesday.

Major parties in the opposition camp are wary of smaller peers' calls for the rate to be lowered back to 5 pct, although they are largely unified in opposition to the rate of 10 pct. The consumption tax, introduced in April 1989 at the rate of 3 pct, was raised to 5 pct in April 1997 and then to 8 pct in April 2014.

The tax rate hike to 10 pct was "outrageous," Yukio Edano, head of the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said at a party meeting on Tuesday. "I want to play the role of passing on the confusion on the ground to national politics," he added.

The CDPJ urged the government to put the tax hike on ice, during its campaign for the July election for the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.

But the party is cautious about plans by Reiwa Shinsengumi and the Japanese Communist Party to submit legislation to cut the rate back to 5 pct, out of concern that changing the tax rate again would only add to the confusion. "If we argue for lower taxes, we will definitely be asked how we are going to pay for it," a senior CDPJ official said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press