Japan leader set to announce crucial sales tax hike
TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was expected on Tuesday to announce a sales tax hike seen as crucial to cutting Tokyo's massive national debt, but that could derail a fledgling economic recovery.
The move marks a big political gamble for Mr Abe - previous hikes have proved career-ending for his predecessors - with the 59-year-old leader likely to announce a stimulus spending package to help soften the blow.
Japan's premier was to hold a news conference later Tuesday, after the Bank of Japan issues its Tankan business confidence survey at 8.30am local time (7.30am Singapore time) with household spending figures also due out.
Some expect the closely watched survey to hit a three-year high, possibly the tipping point that will give the premier the green light to implement a tax rise that was passed by the administration he booted out of office.