Japan PM Kishida Faces Calls for Election over Defense Tax Hike

Japan PM Kishida Faces Calls for Election over Defense Tax Hike

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Japanese voters want an election before any hike in taxes to fund Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s plans for a record increase in defense spending and providing more support for families with children, according to two polls.

In the poll carried out by the Nikkei newspaper from Jan 27 to Jan 29, about 63 percent of respondents said Kishida should go to the people ahead of any increase in the tax burden, Bloomberg reported.

The other survey, conducted by Kyodo News between Jan 28 and Jan 29, saw 77 percent of respondents saying the same thing.

After pledging an unprecedented 60 percent hike in defense spending over five years and a doubling in outlays aimed at encouraging people to have children, Kishida faces weeks of quizzing in parliamentary committees starting on Monday over where the deeply indebted country will find the funds.

Any increase in taxes will be particularly unwelcome.

That is because the highest inflation in 40 years has hit household budgets, and few expect pay rises to outstrip the pace of rising prices.

While he need not hold a general election for more than two years, the unpopular premier can opt to go to the public early in a bid to re-establish his mandate, with the opposition too fragmented to pose a serious challenge.

Support for his Cabinet was little changed at 33.4 percent in the Kyodo survey and 39 percent in the Nikkei poll.

Most of the respondents to the Kyodo poll said they approved of plans to increase spending on children in one of the world’s most aged countries.

However, almost 64 percent of respondents said they opposed a corresponding tax hike.

While Kishida has called on employers to raise wages at a rate above inflation, as many as 80 percent said they did not expect pay hikes on that scale in 2023.

A majority of those polled by the Nikkei said they did not think Kishida’s measures would be effective in tackling the country’s demographic woes.

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