FOCUS: Consumption Tax Cut Debate Heating Up

Politics

Tokyo, July 2 (Jiji Press)--The debate on Japan's consumption tax is heating up in campaigning for the July 10 House of Councillors election, with all major opposition parties calling for cutting or abolishing the tax, while the ruling parties vow to maintain it.

The opposition parties are seeking to lower the consumption tax as a measure to deal with soaring prices, regarded as one of most important issues in the election for the upper chamber of the Diet, Japan's parliament.

"Consumption tax is a source of revenue for pensions, medical and nursing care, and child-rearing," Toshimitsu Motegi, secretary-general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said in a stump speech in the town of Chatan in Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan, Tuesday.

Opposition parties talk about lowering the consumption tax as if it were an annual event when elections approach, he said.

"We would have to cut social security budgets by 30 pct", including for pensions, if consumption tax were actually lowered as demanded by opposition parties," Motegi said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press