Japan’s House of Councillors Start Debates on Reform Bills

Japans House of Councillors on Wednesday started debates on six social security reform bills, part of a package of eight comprehensive reform bills including legislation for a consumption tax increase.

“The comprehensive reforms are a task we cannot afford to lose any time carrying out,” Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told a plenary meeting of the upper chamber of parliament.

“I ask for sincere debates so that the bills are passed into law early,” he said, stressing his resolve to accomplish the reforms in order to show that politicians can make painful but necessary decisions.

On Friday, the Upper House will start deliberations on the remaining two bills of the package, both of which are needed to boost the 5 pct consumption tax rate to 8 pct in April 2014 and to 10 pct in October 2015.

If things go smoothly, the bills are expected to be put to votes as soon as early August.

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