01/24/2012, 00.00
JAPAN
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Tokyo increases tax burden, but with (perhaps) no result

Taxes on sales double to 10%. The Central Bank revises growth forecast downwards (2%). The economy is in crisis due to a reduction in exports to Europe and USA. The value of the yen rose by 17% in two years. The effort to detoxify Fukushima.
Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has decided to introduce tax reforms and social security to reduce the debt abyss in which the country is stagnating. He also called on the opposition to work together for a "decisive politics".

Opening the new session of parliament, Noda promised to introduce a law by March to double sales tax from 5 to 10%. The law should be implemented by 2015.

Noda’s proposal comes as the Central Bank of Japan cut economic growth prospects of the country in 2012, from 2.2 to 2%.

For the first time since 1980, Japan has a trade surplus. The Central Bank says that " Japan’s economic activity has been more or less flat, mainly due to the effects of a slowdown in overseas economies and the appreciation of the yen." The debt crisis in Europe and the U.S. has reduced Japan's exports and contributed to the strengthening of the yen, whose value in the last two years has grown by 17%.

The government said today that even with the taxes at 10%, the country will not be able to balance the budget even by 2020. Japan has the largest public debt in the world, representing 200% of GDP. However, it is largely owned by the Japanese themselves.

Only 57% of Japanese, however, agree with the proposal to raise taxes. At today's session, Noda also promised to step up efforts to decontaminate the area around the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, and to compensate those who have been harmed by the nuclear crisis.

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