Japan delays VAT hike till 2019

Tokyo, Nov 18 (IANS) Japan’s Parliament on Friday gave its definitive nod to delaying an increase in value-added tax (VAT), previously scheduled for April 2017, to October 2019.

The measure was approved in the upper house of the Diet – the Japanese Parliament – backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, the Buddhist New Komeito, after the lower house approved it earlier this month, Efe news reported.

The raise has been postponed once before, over fears it may hit domestic consumption.

Domestic demand in Japan has been weak since the VAT was raised from five to eight per cent in April 2014, leading Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to postpone a second hike (from eight, to ten per cent) from October 2015 to early 2017.

Abe had announced his decision to delay the VAT rise in June saying it was targeted at boosting the economy and to protect domestic consumption.