Abe squares off with opposition leaders ahead of Upper House election
Japan Times -- Jul 04
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during a debate with opposition leaders on Wednesday that he will go ahead with the planned sales tax hike in October but vehemently denied there will be further increases while he remains in power.

Although rumors that Abe might postpone the tax hike have died down, with an Upper House election in less than three weeks, questions have been raised over whether there might be further tax hikes.

At the debate, where leaders of major political parties faced off in Tokyo, Abe gave a firm no to this scenario.

“The Abe administration is not at all considering raising the tax rate (over 10 percent),” he told a moderator when asked whether there may be another hike given the high costs of social welfare programs.

A good portion of the two-hour debate at the Japan National Press Club was spent discussing Japan’s pension system, a recent hot topic following outrage over a controversial Financial Services Agency report that estimated ¥20 million in savings might be needed to sustain post-retirement lives for average elderly pensioners.

Some opposition leaders questioned the efficacy of the “macroeconomic slide” system, which was introduced as part of a 2004 pension reform to reduce payout levels as the size of the working-age population falls and average life expectancy increases.

Kazuo Shii, leader of the Japanese Communist Party, insisted the macroeconomic slide will ultimately reduce the pension payment standards to a critically low level.

Abe, however, defended the framework, saying there is no “magic” that would automatically increase payouts and asserting that without it, Japan will be “depleted of pension reserves.”

News source: Japan Times
Jul 10
The number of new daily coronavirus infections in Tokyo hit a single-day record of 224 on Thursday, the metropolitan government said. (Japan Today)
Jul 10
Officials of Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward say they will offer 100,000 yen, or about 930 dollars, to residents infected with the coronavirus. (NHK)
Jul 10
A 24-year-old woman in custody after she caused the death of her 3-year-old daughter by leaving her alone at their residence for more than one week barricaded her inside with furniture, police have revealed, reports Fuji News Network (July 9). (tokyoreporter.com)
Jul 10
Japan will tighten its criteria for supporting exports of coal-fired power plants amid criticism that the practice goes against global efforts to curb global warming. (Japan Times)
Jul 10
The tourism industry in Japan came to a screeching halt earlier this year with the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, as pretty much the whole country stayed home for both cherry blossom season and the Golden Week vacation period, two of the spring’s busiest travel periods. (soranews24.com)
Jul 10
The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee will issue ticket refunds to people unable to attend the games due to their one-year postponement, sources close to the matter said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Jul 09
Pounding rain that already caused deadly floods in southern Japan was moving northeast Wednesday, battering large areas of Japan's main island, swelling more rivers, triggering mudslides and destroying houses and roads. At least 58 people have died in several days of flooding. (Japan Today)
Jul 09
Struggling businesses and other clients have left Japanese banks with record outstanding loans for a third straight month. (NHK)
Jul 09
Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Motor Co chairman, wired $862,500 last year to a company managed by one of the two men who later helped him escape from Japan, U.S. prosecutors said in a Tuesday court filing. (Japan Today)
Jul 08
In a move that will affect Japanese studying in the U.S., the government there said Monday that international students attending American universities will have to depart the country or transition to another college if their classes are moved entirely online for the fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)