News / Asia

Japan Proposes Tax Hike to Help Fund Social Security System

Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi delivers his policy speech at the opening of the ordinary diet session at parliament in Tokyo, January 24, 2012.
Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi delivers his policy speech at the opening of the ordinary diet session at parliament in Tokyo, January 24, 2012.

The Bank of Japan says the world's third-largest economy, will contract this fiscal year by four-tenths of one percent. The forecast is a significant reversal from earlier predictions that Japan's gross domestic product would rise three-tenths of a percent in the year ending March 31. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from our Northeast Asia bureau in Seoul.

On the day Japan's central bank reversed its economic forecast, some of Japan's political leaders are urging lawmakers to take action to avoid economic catastrophe.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in a policy speech Tuesday to the parliament, decried what he called "indecisive politics".  Mr. Noda says Japan is overwhelmed with challenges - primarily the stagnant economy and recovery from the earthquake and tsunami in the
northeast last March which caused the Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdowns.

Mr. Noda says, for the good of the country, it is imperative for all political parties and his administration to cooperate to enact tax hikes to sustain the social security system in an era of chronic deflation.

Japan faces a rising number of retirees and elderly while a low birth rate and a restrictive immigration policy narrow the pool of workers paying into the pension system.

Japan's public debt now accounts for about 200 percent of its gross domestic product.

Finance Minister Jun Azumi told lawmakers Japan could soon experience the same type of sovereign debt crisis affecting Europe.

But the warning has not prompted any immediate indication of compromise among the opposition bloc. It controls the less-powerful upper house of parliament. Opposition leaders have rebuffed calls for preliminary talks by the governing Democratic Party of Japan on a
proposal to increase the consumption tax rate in two stages.

The conservative Liberal Democratic Party, which governed for most of the post-World War II era, wants a general election instead, which it hopes would return it to power. It says a snap election is necessary to get the public's mandate on raising taxes.


You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More