Japan starts hearing on sales tax, ex-bank deputy urges gradual rise
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's government opened on Monday a week-long hearing with economists, business leaders and consumer advocates that may help determine Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision on how to proceed with a planned increase in sales tax.
During six days of hearings to Saturday, the government will gather the opinions of 60 people on Japan's most significant fiscal reform in years - a change that is unpopular but equally seen as necessary to reduce public debt, which recently reached 1,000 trillion yen (S$12.9 trillion).
Those taking part include academics, consumer and labour union heads and executives from businesses ranging from a small spring maker to auto giant Toyota Motor Corp.
On Monday, most of the seven participants, including head of a powerful business lobby, called on the government to proceed with the scheduled two-stage tax increase from next year.