Aera: 10% or 30% Consumption Tax?
Aera wonders if the 10% consumption tax proposal means a thing. In its August 2 issue, they note that the good people of Japan tend to live so terribly long that how can the state possibly be supposed to provide welfare for all of its subjects?
Currently, the VAT rate is still set to a very conservative, accross-the-board, 5%, compared to other OECD countries (Sweden tops the list at 25% but does have lower rates for important things like books).
Prime minister Kan muddled the waters before the last election, noting that it may have to be raised. Consumers Union of Japan and many others are against an increase - hoping that the state will somehow reduce expenditures (such as military spending) rather than burden said subjects more.
Then, Kurashi is fortunate to have readers who do send in rather intelligent comments. What do you think about the consumption tax/VAT in Japan?
消費税 shouhi-zei is a rather loose term that implies all kinds of excise duties, thus generally translated as VAT or "consumption tax." VAT (or value added tax) may be argued to be a very different monster.
How I wish, just for once, that the clever folks watching over Japan's finances over in Nagatacho would come up with an indigenous term that actually made sense to, hrm, the "subjects" so to speak.
Citizens, as good consumers, are now faced with a dilemma.
On the one hand, the government and the big companies and just about everyone else want Japanese people to consume more. On the other hand, from an environmental point of view, and if we really wanted to reduce Japan's ecological foot print, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide a real model for how we all ought to live on this small planet, we should make every effort to promote efforts to lower consumption - asking said subjects to consume less.
Less consumption makes sense, per capita, in a post peak oil era.
Except if you are stuck in the thinking that Japan should somehow magically revert to the bubble days of the late 1980s (an era that Time Magazine - and others in the US media - still seem to regard as Japan Inc.'s golden standard, "clouded outlook" or not).
In the UK, the VAT is currently 17.5%, but that will be increased to "up to 20%" according to BBC on June 22, 2010.
If Aera is right - not even if the VAT was raised to an OECD record level of 30%, would Japan really provide a sustainable model for the rest of the world?
With an increase to 10%, would the VAT support the pensions for people in "long-living hell?"