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Japan's Abe may shy away from another sales tax hike

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, left, speaks to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a meeting of the International Finance and Economic Assessment Council on March 16. (Photo by Makoto Okada)

TOKYO   Call it deja vu. Speculation is mounting that the Japanese government will once again hit the pause button on a planned consumption tax hike. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had seemed intent on bumping the rate up to 10% from the current 8% in April 2017, but there are plenty of reasons to believe he has changed his mind.

     With emerging economies slowing down and Japanese companies hesitant to increase wages, clouds are gathering on the country's economic horizon. Moreover, at recent government meetings, Nobel Prize-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman both argued against a tax boost, citing the uncertain global economy. Many took their presence at the talks as a sign that Tokyo is laying the groundwork for another delay.

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