Japan PM Abe moves toward tax hike, orders economic stimulus
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered his government on Tuesday to craft measures to bolster the economy to cushion the impact of an increase in the national sales tax.
Buoyed by data showing the world's third-biggest economy recovering briskly and a successful trip to secure the rights to host the 2020 Olympic Games, Mr Abe wasted no time in preparing the groundwork for the April tax increase.
He told cabinet ministers to "compile strong measures as a package, including growth strategies, by the end of this month," Economy Minister Akira Amari told reporters.
The timing means the measures will be decided by October 1, when the premier is to formally rule on the tax increase, Tokyo's first meaningful step to contain its ballooning public debt - considered key to maintaining investor confidence.