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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid