Japan’s top government spokesman said the country’s fiscal situation is “approaching the edge of a cliff,” underscoring Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s call for a national debate on raising the 5 percent sales tax.
Kan is “expressing his deep sense of crisis and resolution about the sustainability of social security as the aging population increases under a low birth rate,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku told reporters today in Tokyo. “The supporting fiscal conditions don’t allow for any delays, it’s finally approaching the edge of a cliff.”
The prime minister last night said in an interview with TV Asahi that he would “stake my political life” on addressing Japan’s rising social welfare costs and increasing public debt. The day before he said “now is the time” to face these problems.
Japan’s public debt is set to exceed twice the size of the economy this year and reach 210 percent of gross domestic product in 2012, both estimates the highest among countries tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the group’s forecasts.
Read the rest of the story: Sengoku Says Japan’s Finances Near ‘Edge of a Cliff’.