Finance minister says Japan must raise taxes soon to fix economy

Finance, health ministers to implement 2008 law requiring handicap access to health facilities

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he will decide later this year if they are going to push through with the scheduled tax increase. The sales tax is scheduled to rise from 5 percent to 8 percent by April next year, and then to 10 percent by October of 2015. Abe has cited concerns that it will affect the economy negatively and so will be observing the conditions until autumn of this year when he will make a decision. But Aso said that delaying the increase would break their commitment to the G20 group of developed and developing nations that Japan would fix its financial situation that has been struggling for the past decade. The government announced that for the third straight month, they are upgrading the view on the economy because deflation has been slowly easing and because of the massive monetary fiscal stimulus, there has been continuous growth.

Japan needs to raise sales tax next year: Finance Minister

Orli Boni, the chief occupational therapist of the Health Ministry, told The Jerusalem Post that even before the law was passed, health facilities were encouraged to start making changes in health fund clinics, hospitals and other facilities so the disabled could receive the health services. The lag time in implementation came because each guideline is debated in the Knesset by committees. Institutions opposed to the guidelines cite the high cost of retrofitting buildings or construction of new ones. Even though two ministers approved the regulations, there remain more regulations that have yet to be approved, Boni said. Approved guidelines include parking areas for the disabled, signs, steps and ramps, auditory warnings, acoustics and braille.

Finance minister says Japan must raise taxes soon to fix economy

Earlier, the government upgraded its view on the economy for a third straight month, saying deflation was easing and growth was picking up due to massive monetary fiscal stimulus. Still, plenty of work is needed to repair public finances. Japan’s public debt is the largest among major industrialized nations at more than twice the size of its 500 trillion yen ($5 trillion) economy, and the sales tax hike is considered a test of the government’s commitment to reform. WAIT FOR GDP DATA Abe, whose ruling bloc won a big victory in Sunday’s upper house election, has vowed to push ahead with tough reforms but could face resistance from some in his party.

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