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A tax hike Japan can't afford

Abe will regret proposing retrenchment just as the economic outlook is clouding

| Japan
Don’t expect 2019 to be better than 2014, when a tax hike cooled consumption and necessitated more government spending.   © Reuters

Shinzo Abe has announced a blunder Japan will regret.

The prime minister's decision to raise sales taxes again in October 2019 is being couched in confidence. After two delays, the economy is judged, finally, to be lively enough to withstand a bump to 10% from 8%. Coming atop the 2014 hike to 8% from 5%, the step will, supposedly, help fulfill Tokyo's pledge to pay down debt.

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