Kishida to Flexibly Consider Timing of Tax Hikes for Defense Boost


Tokyo, Jan. 30 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that his government will flexibly consider the timing of implementing envisaged tax increases to secure funds for drastically strengthening the country's defense capabilities.

"We will take measures to prevent negative impacts on the economy, people's livelihoods and employment," Kishida told a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives, reiterating his call for understanding for the planned tax hikes.

On regulatory hurdles believed to be blocking women from working more, the prime minister said that he is aware of the problem and that the government is ready to review them. Among the hurdles is a system in which spouses earning more than 1.3 million yen a year are excluded from the scope of dependent family members and have to pay social insurance premiums on their own.

Noting that Japanese economy is facing difficulties including the novel coronavirus pandemic and rising prices, Kishida said, "We need to conduct economic and fiscal policy management in a timely fashion, such as using reserve funds."

The Budget Committee of the lower chamber of the Diet, the country's parliament, began substantive discussions Monday on the government's fiscal 2023 draft budget, which includes record-high general-account spending of over 114 trillion yen. The new fiscal year starts April 1.

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