Japan consumption tax rises to 10%
NHK -- Oct 01
In Japan, the consumption tax rose from 8 to 10 percent on Tuesday. The government says the increase was needed to help cover ballooning social security costs and pay down massive public debt.

Shoppers rushed to make purchases during the weekend prior to the increase on October 1. Many bought luxury goods and stocked up on household items.

The levy remains at 8 percent for daily necessities like food and drinks. Alcoholic beverages and items eaten out are subject to the higher tax of 10 percent. It's the first time in Japan that different rates apply to different goods.

A points-based incentive program is meant to soften the blow of the change and promote cashless transactions. Customers using credit cards or electronic payment methods are offered points for future discounts until next June.

But some people say the different rates of tax and incentive program are too complicated.

This is the first consumption tax increase in more than five years.

The latest hike is expected to bring about 5.7 trillion yen, or more than 52 billion dollars, in tax revenue for the nation's budget.

Half the revenue will be spent on making preschool education and childcare free of charge, easing the financial burden of higher education, among other things. The rest will go to restoring the country's fiscal health.

The government says that with these changes, the social security system will benefit not only the elderly but also all other generations, including child-rearing households.

1日から消費税率が10%に上がりました。初めて軽減税率が導入され、対象となる商品の線引きが複雑なことから混乱も予想されています。  大手コンビニエンスストアのローソンでは、税率が10%に上がる直前に駆け込み、8%で支払った人もいました。  増税直前に購入した人:「ちょっとラッキーな気がします。ありがとうございます」  軽減税率の導入で食料品を持ち帰る場合は8%ですが、店内で飲食した場合は10%が適用されるため混乱も予想されています。  店員:「一度、レジを締めさせてもらってその後、10%に」  24時間営業の居酒屋では午前0時直前にいったん8%で会計を行いました。増税後は、店員がレジのチェックやメニューの入れ替えに追われました。ガソリンスタンドには駆け込みで給油する人が相次ぎました。  増税後に給油した客:「ご飯を食べて(0時を)過ぎちゃいました。2%残念です。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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