Japan needs to take steps for fiscal consolidation: Finance minister

Japan's Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso gestures as he delivers a speech in Tokyo on June 28, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
Japan's Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso gestures as he delivers a speech in Tokyo on June 28, 2013. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Thursday that it is important to take steps to pare down government debt and ensure that the country's public finances are improving.

"We need to take steady steps toward fiscal consolidation. We must maintain market confidence in Japan's fiscal sustainability," Mr Aso said at a seminar in Tokyo.

Japan's public debt burden is the worst among major countries at more than twice the size of its US$5 trillion (S$6.3 trillion) economy.

The government must decide by this autumn whether to raise its sales tax, which is an important first step towards improving public finances.