News / Asia

Japan Proposes Selling Tobacco Stake to Fund Quake Recovery

Smokers in Japan flock to stock up on cigarettes, even by stealing them, or struggling to kick the habit ahead of a record tobacco price increase, (File).
Smokers in Japan flock to stock up on cigarettes, even by stealing them, or struggling to kick the habit ahead of a record tobacco price increase, (File).

The policy head of Japan’s ruling party has called on the government to sell its entire stake in Japan Tobacco to help fund the reconstruction of the region hit by the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

The possible sale of the government’s 50 percent stake in Japan Tobacco - the world’s third-largest cigarette maker - is part of a series of measures to raise emergency funds for the disaster-hit region.

Television reports said the Democratic Party of Japan also agreed to draft another supplementary budget for the current fiscal year, worth about $157 billion, most of which will go towards post-disaster reconstruction.

The government hopes to raise as much as $120 billion through new tax increases. The tax increases are $26 billion  lower than originally expected, which the government hopes will win opposition support for the plan.

After two days of intense negotiations, senior DPJ officials agreed to temporarily increase income, corporate, residential and tobacco taxes in the next three to ten years. The money will be used to pay back new debt issued to generate revenue for the disaster reconstruction program.

The government is expected to spend $248 billion in the next five years to pay for reconstruction.

Japan’s public debt - now twice the size of its five trillion dollar economy - has forced the government to seek alternative sources of revenue.  The two-stage sale of its stake in Japan Tobacco and other entities is expected to raise about $90 billion. Some of that total will come from spending cuts.

This week, Seiji Maehara, the Democratic Party of Japan’s policy chief, surprised many people when he called for the government to offload all of its Japan Tobacco shares.

Maehara tells reporters the government is keen to put the funding measures in place as soon as possible. He says he hopes opposition parties will quickly accept the government’s sincere request to cooperate so that rebuilding can begin.

Shares in Japan Tobacco Incorporated rose by as much as nine percent on Thursday's news.

Despite the positive response from the market, the government still faces legal hurdles for the deal. The sell-off would require a change in the law, as the government already owns the minimum legal stake in Japan Tobacco. Tobacco farmers, who are traditionally close to the opposition Liberal Democratic Party, may oppose the move because of concerns that a fully privatized Japan Tobacco will no longer buy their entire crop.

The cabinet is expected to submit a draft of the emergency budget and tax reform bills to parliament in October.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid