Japan raises consumption tax, reviving worries over economy

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Japan has raised its national sales tax to 10% from 8%, amid concerns that it could derail the tenuous growth of the past several years.

Government officials say ample measures have been taken to minimize the impact of the long delayed tax hike, which took effect Tuesday. Previous tax increases, a 2-point increase to 5% in 1997 and another to 8% in 2014, brought on recessions.

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe postponed this hike twice but said it was unavoidable.

The increase covers most goods and services from clothes, electronics to transportation and medical fees, but the government has sought to soften its impact with tax breaks for home and car purchases. It also kept the tax for groceries unchanged for low-income households and is providing free pre-school education to families.