Japanese Taxpayers Bailing Out Whalers

Japan has begun injecting new tax-payer-funded subsidies into its whaling program in a bid to keep the fleet afloat, the ABC has learned.

It is believed the “profitable fisheries program” is helping to keep the so-called scientific research program’s ongoing debts at bay and to help refit the whaling fleet’s flagship.

With the Japanese fleet now entering Antarctic waters, the annual whale wars are again expected to flare any day.

Militant Sea Shepherd activists have been able to all but scupper the fleet’s catch over the past few years.

This, plus lower demand for whale meat, means the government has been forced to prop up the whaling program.

Some of the money has come from funds set aside for the rebuilding of communities shattered by the 2011 tsunami.

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Japan passes tax increases as Cabinet OKs bill

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his ruling Democratic Party of Japan-led government managed to submit the contentious bill to the Diet on Friday to double the consumption tax to 10 percent by 2015, while junior coalition partner Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party) was on the verge of collapsing over internal conflict on the legislation.

Given the green light by the Cabinet in the morning and submitted to the Diet later in the day, the bill is now ready to be deliberated on in the Lower House and the government is hoping it will be passed by the time the current Diet session ends in June.

Read the rest of the story: Cabinet OKs bill to double sales tax by ’15.


Diet passes emergency tax hike for reconstruction

The Diet approved a bill Wednesday that will enable the government to raise income tax for up to 25 years to secure funds for reconstruction work following the March quake and tsunami.

The bill, approved last week by the Lower House, was endorsed by the Upper House, with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s coalition obtaining the cooperation of major opposition parties that dominate the Upper House.

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Japan Pounders Debt Solutions Without Angering Voters With Tax Talk

As Japan’s fiscally conservative finance minister, Yoshihiko Noda long sounded the alarm on the nation’s ballooning government debt. It is more than twice the size of its $5 trillion economy — and rated more risky than that of Italy and Spain.

Now, after Mr. Noda was elected Japan’s prime minister this week in response to the nation’s natural and nuclear disasters, the question is whether he can administer his prescription: raise taxes while reining in spending.

“We will no longer spend wastefully as if we are pouring buckets of water into a sieve,” Mr. Noda declared in a speech on Monday just before Japan’s ruling Democratic Party elevated him to the top job.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Seeks Answers to Debt Load Without Angering Voters.