Confidence in Japan lost without tax reforms

Japan must devise a concrete plan for tax reform to avoid deepening the nation’s massive debt and the loss of confidence in the economy, the new fiscal policy minister said on Wednesday.

The comments from Kaoru Yosano come as Prime Minster Naoto Kan faces what analysts say is a make or break battle over the issue, which has proved divisive with voters.

‘If we keep going with no fiscal discipline, allowing the stock of public debt to grow larger or continuing to borrow more than we receive in tax revenue, international confidence in Japan could be gradually eroded,’ Yosano told reporters.

‘Both the fiscal authorities and the Bank of Japan must pay adequate attention to that point in managing economic and fiscal policy,’ he said.

Yosano was speaking as Kan’s new-look government on Wednesday took its first steps toward formulating a tax-hike proposal and seeking talks with the private sector.

On Friday the premier appointed the 72-year-old conservative former finance minister and fiscal hawk Yosano as his new fiscal policy minister, also putting him in charge of tax and social welfare.

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