» 01/24/2012, 00.00
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.
Japan renews with strong economic growth
GDP grew 1.2 per cent in last quarter of 2006, the strongest since 2004, but experts warn it is based on continent factors like higher exports and a weak yen. Central Bank will decide next week whether to raise interest rates or not.
Japan Airlines announces bankruptcy
Its debt reaches 16.5 billion dollars. It is the largest bankruptcy in the postwar history of Japan. Under state control, the company will continue to fly, but will fire 15700 people. At a cost to taxpayers of 44 billion yen.
Chinese growth slowing down again in May, Wen Jiabao voices concerns
The growth in manufacturing activity is slowing down because of the European debt crisis and government measures to rein in the real estate boom. In Tokyo, Chinese PM Wen warns against the dangers of a second slump, but believes China is on track.
Record drop in Japanese economy in the first quarter: - 4%
Tokyo’s data worse than the USA (-1,6%) end Europe (-2,5%). Exports in free fall as well as internal demand. There are some signs of recovery, but fears too, that it is tied to the governments massive stimulus plans.
Japan recovers, posts a trade surplus
Since the 11 March disaster, trade figures were negative. Recovery is made possible by a more efficient organisation of production; however, power shortages, the world’s economic crisis and a stronger yen loom over the horizon.
Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card
In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
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