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Japan: Gov't Draw Up Social Security, Tax Reform Guideline by Year-End
Source: japantoday.com
Source Date: Thursday, October 28, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Japan
Created: Nov 01, 2010

The government and ruling parties held the first meeting Thursday of their task force on Japan’s social security and tax reforms in a bid to come up with a reform guideline, including how to treat the consumption tax, within this year.

“I would like you to provide a vision on a secure social security system for the next 50 years,’’ Prime Minister Naoto Kan told the meeting.

The government, the Democratic Party of Japan and the People’s New Party plan to invite opposition parties to join talks on the social security and tax reform guideline from next year.

“We should have a framework to form a wide consensus even at cost of much time,’’ Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku, who chairs the task force, told a press conference.

Even the government and ruling parties are expected to face difficulty reaching a consensus after Prime Minister Kan’s call for a consumption tax hike contributed to the DPJ’s serious setback in a House of Councillors election in July.

For the immediate future, the task force is expected to refrain from touching on any specific consumption tax hike.

Former Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii told the task force meeting that consumption tax revenues should be set aside exclusively for social security covering pensions, health care, nursing care and birthrate-boosting measures. He chairs the DPJ’s panel on tax and social security reforms.

Other participants in the task force include Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Ritsuo Hosokawa, DPJ Secretary General Katsuya Okada and PNP Secretary General Mikio Shimoji.

The government is urgently required to secure financial resources for social security now that social security outlays total some 27 trillion yen, accounting for a half of general expenditures, and are estimated to automatically increase by more than 1 trillion yen per year.
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