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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 11/21/07

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TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 11/21/07


Index:

1) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)

2) Defense Minister Ishiba: Need to reduce host-nation support by
cutting pay of Japanese employees at US bases (Sankei)

Diet frenzy:
3) Former defense chief and now finance minister Nukaga to be
grilled in Diet on allegations of impropriety (Nikkei)
4) New charge of kickbacks from defense contractors added to list of
questions for Nukaga in the Diet (Tokyo Shimbun)
5) Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ) bill to withdraw ASDF from Iraq
will pass committee on the 27th (Sankei)
6) Ruling camp's antiterrorism bill, delayed in the Upper House by
DPJ tactics, will finally enter full deliberations on Nov. 28 or
later (Yomiuri)
7) Prime Minister Fukuda's meeting with other party heads on Nov. 22
worries the DPJ while filling the LDP with anticipation of
breakthrough (Mainichi)

Asia diplomacy:
8) Fukuda, Chinese Premier Wen in Singapore meeting promise to make
efforts to resolve gas-field development issue (Asahi)
9) Chinese President Hu to visit Japan next spring (Tokyo Shimbun)


10) In trilateral meeting of Japan, China, ROK premiers, Fukuda
states his desire to normalize relations with North Korea (Yomiuri)

11) Summitry in Singapore allows Fukuda chance to improve Japan's
ties with its neighbors China and South Korea (Mainichi)
12) Text of Japan-China summit meeting and luncheon meeting
(Yomiuri)

Economic policy:
13) Government panel calls for consumption tax hike by 2009 in order
to fund growing social security expenditures (Nikkei)
14) Poll shows 50 PERCENT of public now willing to accept a
consumption tax hike as "inevitable," outweighing those against the
move (Mainichi)

Articles:

1) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, November 20

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 21, 2007

Morning Met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and South Korean President
Roh Moo Hyun at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Singapore. Later, held
one-on-one talks with Wen.
Noon Had luncheon with Wen
Afternoon Attended the ASEAN plus Japan, China and South Korea
summit at the Shangri-La Hotel. Met Roh.
Evening Held talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Laotian
Prime Minister Bouasone, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
at the Four Seasons Hotel. Later held talks with Dung.
Night Attended a dinner party hosted by Singaporean Prime Minister
Lee Hsien Loong and his wife at the Swissotel Hotel. Stayed at the

TOKYO 00005310 002 OF 010


Four Seasons Hotel.

2) Wage cuts needed for base workers: Ishiba

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
November 21, 2007

In connection with the issue of curtailing Japan's sharing of costs
for the stationing of US forces in Japan ("omoiyari yosan" or
literally "sympathy budget"), Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba,
meeting the press yesterday, referred to the level of wages for base
workers. "It is higher than that for (other) people working in
Okinawa," Ishiba said. "I wonder if this (wage) payment can really
obtain understanding," he added. With this, Ishiba suggested the
need for the government to cut down on various allowances for base
workers. Ishiba also said, "We must not neglect the Financial System
Council's report (which seeks to scale back on the costs)." The All
Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union (Zenchuro), consisting of base
workers, will go on a time-limited strike today for four hours
against wage cuts.

3) Government, ruling coalition having hard time dealing with
Defense Ministry scandals, Nukaga might have to take responsibility;
Opposition prioritizes shedding light on scandals, deliberations on
new refueling bill would delay

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
November 21, 2007

The government and ruling parties are having a hard time coping with
a recently revealed allegation in connection with Finance Minister
Fukushiro Nukaga. There is no prospect for deliberations on a bill
to resume the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling activities in
the Indian Ocean since the opposition camp has assumed a stance of
prioritizing the shedding of light on the allegation. Some in the
government and ruling coalition are now concerned about the possible
adverse impact on the compilation of the state budget for next
fiscal year, which will take place in late this year. The allegation
might develop into an issue in which Nukaga would have to take
responsibility (and resign).

"He seems to have asked those involved at the time, and I have heard
that that there was no such fact," said Chief Cabinet Secretary
Nobutaka Machimura in a press conference yesterday. Machimura, based
on the Defense Ministry's information, denied the allegation that
Nukaga had helped a Yamagata construction firm take part in bidding
for a project for the former Sendai Defense Facilities
Administration Bureau in 2000. Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
Secretary General Bunmei Ibuki also stressed in a press briefing

SIPDIS
yesterday: "The construction company also denied it and a former
Defense Facilities Administration Agency (DFAA) official said that
such would have been impossible." Although senior government and LDP
officials have now lined up on to back Nukaga, they are perplexed
about what action the opposition bloc will take.

The most serious issue is a delay in a schedule for deliberations on
the new refueling legislation. In his meeting yesterday with
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Susumu Yanase, LDP Upper House Diet Affairs Committee
Chairman Seiji Suzuki proposed again starting deliberations on Nov.
26, but Yanase rejected the proposal, saying, "We should prioritize
shedding light on the allegation rather than starting

TOKYO 00005310 003 OF 010


deliberations."

Referring in a press conference yesterday to Nukaga having denied
being wined and dined by former Yamada Corp. executive Motonobu
Miyazaki, who is now under arrest, DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa
underscored: "Since the two sides' remarks are different, it's
better to reveal the facts." Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji
Yamaoka told the press: "The restaurant in which they assembled has
almost been identified. When supportive evidence is provided, the
facts will be revealed."

Four opposition parties -- the DPJ, Japanese Communist Party, Social
Democratic Party and People's New Party -- confirmed in a meeting
yesterday of their Diet affairs committee chairmen that they would
thoroughly clear this matter up. The opposition side intends to
clear up the facts in a session today of the Lower House Finance
Committee, in which Nukaga will attend. Depending on Nukaga's
replies, the opposition eyes testimonies in the Diet by witnesses
and launching a no-confidence motion against Nukaga.

4) Nukaga may be summoned over favors

TOKYO SHIMBUN(Page 2) (Full)
November 21, 2007

There are now suspicions arising about whether Finance Minister
Fukushiro Nukaga favored a specific construction company (when he
was a deputy chief cabinet secretary) in connection with the then
Defense Facilities Administration Agency's designation of
contractors for a construction project ordered by its Sendai bureau.
In response, four opposition parties confirmed yesterday that they
would pursue the allegation against the Defense Ministry, with an
eye to the possibility of summoning Nukaga to the Diet as a sworn
witness. In particular, the leading opposition Democratic Party of
Japan (Minshuto), emboldened by its recommended candidate's victory
in the recent mayoral race in the city of Osaka, is ready to face
off with the government and ruling parties.

DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa, in a press conference yesterday, noted a
gap between Nukaga's comment and a former DFAA Sendai bureau
director general's remarks in which this former DFAA official
revealed that he was asked by Nukaga to favor a local constructor.
"It would be better to clarify whether it was true or not," Ozawa
said. With this, Ozawa stressed that the DPJ would ask Nukaga to
explain the suspicions in the Diet.

Earlier in the day, the DPJ, the Japanese Communist Party, the
Social Democratic Party, and the People's New Party held a meeting
of their Diet affairs committee chairmen and the four opposition
parties concurred on pursuing the suspicions over the Defense
Ministry thoroughly in the Diet's lower and upper chambers. The
opposition bench will ask the government about the series of
scandals in a House of Representatives Financial Affairs Committee
meeting to be held today and also in a House of Councillors
Financial Affairs Committee meeting to be held tomorrow. Nukaga is
to be present at both meetings.

"We will check whether the suspicions are cleared in his (Nukaga's)
statements before the committees," DPJ Secretary General Yukio
Hatoyama told reporters. "If the suspicions are found even stronger,
then he may have to be summoned as a sworn witness," he added.


TOKYO 00005310 004 OF 010


5) Iraq pullout bill: Committee vote set for Nov. 27

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
November 21, 2007

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the leading opposition
Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) yesterday held a meeting of
their Diet affairs committee chairmen, Seiji Suzuki and Susumu
Yanase, from the House of Councillors over a DPJ-introduced bill
repealing the Iraq Reconstruction Assistance Special Measures Law.
In the meeting, Suzuki and Yanase agreed to schedule the House of
Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to hear the DPJ's
explanation of reasons for its presentation of the bill and to
schedule the committee to take a vote on Nov. 27 after
interpellations.

The bill is likely to clear the Diet's upper chamber in its plenary
sitting on Nov. 28 with a majority of votes from the DPJ and other
parties, and it will be sent to the House of Representatives.
However, the ruling parties hold a majority of the seats in the
lower chamber. The bill is therefore expected to be voted down or
scrapped there.

6) Storm over antiterrorism bill makes another extension of the Diet
session likely; With DPJ pursuing Yamada Yoko Corp. scandal,
deliberation of the bill not until after 28th

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Excerpts)
November 21, 2007

Passage in the current session of the Diet of the new antiterrorism
special measures bill, which the government and ruling camp have
given top priority, has become difficult, and a decision to make
another extension of the Diet is now highly likely. However, the
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is not only opposed to passage of
the bill, the party has shown its intent to put every effort into
clearing up allegations centered on the Yamada Yoko Corp., a trading
firm specializing in air and defense areas. The fate of the bill
remains as confused as ever.

The Diet session has already been extended 35 days beyond its
original closing date of Nov. 10. The judgment then was that if
there was another month, it would be able to ensure enough hours of
deliberation (41) even in the Upper House, as well as the Lower
House.

However, the DPJ adopted a strategy of seeking priority deliberation
on its bill to scrap the Iraq reconstruction and assistance special
measures law, and to force deliberations on the antiterrorism
special measures bill to run out of time. In addition, the DPJ
gathered further momentum when the witness it called on the 15th,
former Vice Defense Minister Moriya, stated that former defense
chiefs Kyuma and Nukaga had been invited by the former chief
executive of Yamada to the same banquet he had attended. The outlook
now is that the new antiterrorism bill, sent to the Upper House on
the 13th, will not be deliberated on until the 28th or later.

The government and ruling camp aim to pass the bill this Diet
session. Since the DPJ, anticipating another extension, is applying
the provision of the law that if the Upper House does not act on the
bill in 60 days, it is considered rejected, the ruling camp is
taking the position of readopting the bill in the Lower House by a

TOKYO 00005310 005 OF 010


two-thirds majority. The view that has emerged is to re-extend the
session until mid to late January.

However, the New Komeito is concerned that if the bill is passed by
re-extending the Diet, the DPJ will protest and could file a censure
motion against Prime Minister Fukuda, which would lead to a
dissolution of the Lower House (for a snap election).

For that reason, Prime Minister Fukuda will meet with each party
head on the 22nd, explain to them the significance of the
antiterrorism bill, and urge that they meet him half way on it.

However, DPJ head Ozawa yesterday at a press conference clearly
stated: "since there is a basic difference in thinking, including
interpretation of the Constitution, no matter how the prime minister
makes his plea, we cannot change (our stance opposing the bill)."

7) DPJ apparently alarmed about tomorrow's party-head talks;
Government, ruling coalition, express expectations

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Slightly abridged)
November 21, 2007

With one-one-one meetings between Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda,
president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and other
party leaders coming up tomorrow, the government and ruling parties
are hoping to break the impasses in the Diet, while opposition
parties are alarmed. Prime Minister Fukuda and DPJ President Ichiro
Ozawa will hold talks for the first time since they discussed a
grand coalition on Nov. 2. Since the media reported allegations that
Finance Minister Fukushiro Nukaga had asked a former Defense
Facilities Administration Agency regional bureau to include a
Yamagata construction firm to include in bidding on its project,
some members of the DPJ, which has strengthened its offensive, are
now suspicious about a revival of the policy of placing emphasis on
discussions.

In a press conference yesterday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka
Machimura expressed his expectations for party-head talks, while
referring to a review of debates in the two houses of the Diet. He
stated: "There are a mountain of important bills. With the Diet
divided, we must discuss what Diet rules should be created.

Fukuda declared in the recent Japan-US summit that he would do his
best to enact as early as possible the new antiterrorism special
measures bill. However, it is difficult to pass the legislation
within the current Diet session, which will end on Dec. 15. DPJ
President Ichiro Ozawa yesterday underscored his opposition to the
bill, saying, "Since it is a basic difference on the overseas
dispatch of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF), we cannot change our
position, even if we are asked to support the bill."

The DPJ has called on the government and ruling coalition to
prioritize shedding light on a series of scandals involving the
Defense Ministry and Nukaga. Fukuda will likely ask other party
leaders to deal separately with the scandals and deliberations on
bills.

Many in the DPJ are alarmed about the idea of forming a grand
coalition with the LDP reappearing.

LDP Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Tadamori Oshima told his DPJ

TOKYO 00005310 006 OF 010


counterpart Kenji Yamaoka on Nov. 16: "We want to hold a party-head
meeting after holding a meeting of the secretaries general on
issues, including policy consultations." Yamaoka immediately turned
down the offer, saying, "We don't want to discuss a grand coalition,
so we can't hold policy consultations." Oshima suggested holding a
party-head meeting on the 19th, saying, "The prime minister wants to
talk about his overseas trips. He will meet with other party
leaders, as well." Yamaoka reportedly was unable to refuse the
request.

8) Japanese, Chinese top leaders agree to make effort to settle gas
field issue: Prime minister indicates his intention to visit China
at early date

ASAHI (Page 1) (Full)
November 21, 2007

Singapore, Shinji Ineda

Prime Minister Fukuda separately met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
and South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun in Singapore for the first
time since taking office. Fukuda during his summit meeting with Wen
expressed his intention to visit China either before the end of the
year or early next year. Both leaders agreed to make efforts for a
settlement of the issue of jointly exploring natural gas fields in
the East China Sea. However, they did not touch on any specific
timeframe for launching exploration. During the Japan-South Korea
summit, the leaders reached an agreement to develop future-oriented
bilateral relations. Fukuda indicated his desire to normalize ties
between Japan and North Korea, by settling the abduction issue and
past accounts (from the colonial period).

Wen noted that joint development of gas fields is a highly complex
and sensitive issue. However, he said that he wanted to see both
sides bravely tackle the issue and make efforts to settle it, based
on the common perception on the joint development of a relatively
wide area, as agreed on when Wen came to Japan in April. Fukuda
responded, "I want to settle the issue for the sake of the
development of Japan-China relations." However, neither side
proposed a timetable to settle the joint development issue, though
the arrangement had been to map out a concrete plan by this fall.

Both leaders also agreed to strengthen strategic and
mutual-beneficial relations and cooperation in the security area,
which the two countries agreed on when former Prime Minister Abe
visited China. Wen asked Fukuda to visit China at an early time.
Fukuda conveyed his intention to visit at an early date, based on
the Diet situation.

Wen pointed out, "Dealing with the historical and Taiwan issues
properly is the basis of politics for maintaining Japan-China
relations." With the upcoming presidential election in Taiwan in
mind, Wen stated, "I hope Japan will appropriately deal with the
Taiwan issue." Fukuda indicated his view, "Regarding Taiwan, it is
important to maintain peace on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
There is no change in our stance."

President Roh during his summit with Fukuda pointed out that General
Secretary Kim Jong Il was clearly aware that it was important to

SIPDIS
improve relations between the US and North Korea and relations
between Japan and North Korea in order for North Korea to move
toward peace and prosperity.

TOKYO 00005310 007 OF 010

9) Japanese, Chinese leaders agree on trip to Japan by President Hu
next spring

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 1) (Full)
November 21, 2007

Hitoshi Tojo, Singapore

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda expresses his desire to Chinese Premier
Wen Jiabao during their talks in Singapore on Nov. 20 to visit China
by the end of this year. Following Fukuda's remarks, the two leaders
agreed to realize a visit to Japan by Chinese President Hu Jintao
next spring.

At the outset of the talks, Wen said that Japan-China relations are
"at an important turning point" and then invited Fukuda to visit
China by the end of the year. Fukuda replied that while watching the
Diet situation, "I want to visit China by the end of the year or
early next year if possible. I anticipate President Hu will visit
Japan next year. We would like to start coordination to that end."

In reference to the issues of past accounts and Taiwan, Wen
emphasized: "Appropriately resolving these issues is the political
basis to maintain good Japan-China relations." The Chinese premier
also said: "I hope Japan will properly deal with the Taiwan issue
prior to the (Taiwanese presidential) election next March."

In response, Prime Minister Fukuda said: "I expect that relations
between both sides will peacefully develop in the international
community."

10) Prime minister expresses eagerness to normalize diplomatic ties
with North Korea during Japan-China-South Korea summit

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
November 21, 2007

Ayumu Tsuda and Shoji Minami, Singapore

In a meeting of the leaders of Japan, China and South Korea on Nov.
20, Prime Minister Fukuda expressed eagerness to normalize
diplomatic relations between Japan and North Korea after resolving
bilateral pending issues. Fukuda said: "I will continue utmost
efforts to settle the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North
Korea and unfortunate past accounts. I would like China and South
Korea to continue to support our efforts." Chinese Premier Wen
Jiabao and South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun promised to offer
cooperation.

Prime Minister Fukuda said: "I hail the progress made by North Korea
toward disabling its nuclear facilities" in the six-party talks. But
he added: "It is important to have North Korea abandon its nuclear
facilities and weapons. It is still half done. The issue of missile
development has also been left unresolved."

The three leaders agreed to hold another round of trilateral summit
on a different occasion from the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) summit.

They also decided (1) to draw up an action program for the three
countries to cooperate on economic and environment policies; (2) to

TOKYO 00005310 008 OF 010


accelerate negotiations on concluding an investment accord; and (3)
to hold trilateral foreign ministerial and vice foreign ministerial
talks in Japan next year.

11) ASEAN pins hopes on Prime Minister Fukuda repairing relations:
Prime minister's cooperative stance to contribute to stabilization
of Asia

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
November 21, 2007

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is pinning high
hopes on the diplomatic stance of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, who
advocates giving importance to Asia. Since ASEAN members strongly
feel that Japan, China and South Korea, major powers in the region,
maintaining friendly relations will lead to regional stabilization,
they have a good impression of Fukuda because of his positive stance
toward repairing and developing Japan's relations with China and
South Korea.

Likening Prime Minister Fukuda to former Prime Minister Takeo
Fukuda, his father, the Straits Times, a leading paper of ASEAN-host
nation Singapore, on Nov. 16 carried a favorable article on Fukuda,
which said, "Prime Minister Fukuda's diplomatic stance will likely
be close to that of his late father, who is regarded as a good
friend of Southeast Asia."

Takeo Fukuda in August 1977 visited Manila and declared there that
Japan will contribute to the peace and prosperity of Southeast Asian
nations on an equal footing without becoming a military power. This
Fukuda Doctrine is remembered by politicians and diplomatic sources
of various countries as the basic spirit of the starting point for
creative relations between Japan and ASEAN.

ASEAN, which marked the 40 anniversary of its founding, is promoting
regional cooperation with partnership as the catchword. This is the
wisdom of the association of small countries that are weak in
diplomatic and economic terms. With their diplomatic efforts coming
to fruition, they, as the only regional community in East Asia, have
developed multi-tiered frameworks, such as ASEAN plus Japan, China
and South Korea (joined by 13 countries) and the East Asia Summit
including India (joined by 16 countries), involving neighbors, such
as Japan and China.

However, relations between China and Japan were strained during the
Koizumi administration, which attached importance to relations with
the US, damaging the overall cooperative mood. During this period,
China positively approached ASEAN, while the diplomatic clout of
Japan, the most reliable partner of ASEAN, according to former
Philippine Foreign Minister Siazon, declined.

ASEAN thinks it ideal to promote overall cooperation, while
achieving a good balance both with China and Japan. Prime Minister
Fukuda's stance of repairing relations with China and attaching
importance to Asia is acceptable in the sense of restoring the
collapsed diplomatic balance.

ASEAN members are closely watching what policy Prime Minister Fukuda
will come up with as a second Fukuda doctrine and how he is going to
develop new relations.

Singapore, Satoru Fujita

TOKYO 00005310 009 OF 010

12) Gist of Japan-China summit meeting and dinner meeting

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)
November 21, 2007

Overall Japan-China relations

Prime Minister Wen: China-Japan relations are at an important
historical stage and critical turning point in their development.
Both countries must continue to move forward constantly. I would
like to next year to be the year of youth friendship exchanges.

Prime Minister Fukuda: Our main challenge will be how to promote a
strategic mutually beneficial relationship. Exchanges of young
people will be vital for the bilateral relationship.

Exchanges in the summit meeting

Wen: If possible, I would like you to visit China this year. Your
visit to China and the visit to Japan by President Hu Jintao next
spring will be highly significant for the long-term development of
bilateral relations. I would like them to be worked out
successfully.

Fukuda: I would like to do my utmost to visit this year or as early
as possible next year.

East China Sea gas-field development

Wen: I would like both sides to make efforts so that joint gas-field
development can be tackled with vigor and resolved.

Fukuda: I would like to ask Prime Minister Wen to display your
leadership to resolve this quickly.

North Korea problem

Fukuda: It is important to resolve the nuclear issue. It is also
vital that the abducted victims return home. I ask for your
understanding and cooperation.

Wen: I express my understanding and sympathy. I would like to offer
whatever cooperation is needed.

Defense exchanges

Fukuda: I welcome the arrival of a Chinese naval vessel to Japan
next week. I would like to send a ship to China at an appropriate
time. Promotion of exchanges in the security area is extremely
important for mutual understanding.

Wen: I understand exactly the need for mutual peace and development,
and the importance of deepening the dialogue in the security area.

Taiwan problem

Wen: Properly dealing with this issue is the political foundation
that upholds the China-Japan relationship. With the Taiwanese
presidential election coming next March, the Taiwan situation has
become delicate. I would hope to see the Japanese side to deal with
this properly.

TOKYO 00005310 010 OF 010

Fukuda: I hope to see peaceful developments on both shores.

Japanese exports of rice

On the question of export of Japanese rice to China, both prime
ministers said it would be implemented after the second time.

13) Government's Tax Research Commission report sees consumption tax
as funding for social security: Government, ruling parties eye tax
hike in fiscal 2009 or later

NIKKEI (Top Play) (Excerpts)
November 21, 2007

The government's Tax Research Commission (an advisory organ
reporting to the prime minister) at a plenary session on Nov. 20
finalized a report in the run-up to annual tax code revisions for
fiscal 2008. The report categorically mentioned for the first time
in three years the need to hike the consumption tax in order to
finance social security spending, which is increasing due to the
aging society, by characterizing the tax as key fiscal resources for
social security. The report also indicated the possibility of
drastic tax reform matching structural changes in society, including
revisions to various deductions in the income tax and a cut in the
effective corporate tax rate. However, since it is difficult to
realize any of the proposals, drastic reform, including a
consumption tax hike, will be delayed until fiscal 2009

The title of the report is "Basic View for Drastic Tax System
Reform." The Tax Research Commissions issues an annual report
including proposals for amending the tax systems for the next fiscal
year and a mid-term policy report indicating a direction for a mid-
to long-term reform policy, which comes out every three years. The
report this time is a version combining both types of reports.

14) Poll: 50 PERCENT consider consumption tax hike inevitable

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
November 21, 2007

According to a Yomiuri nationwide interview-based opinion poll
conducted on Nov. 10-11, 50 PERCENT of respondents consider it
inevitable or somewhat necessary that the consumption tax rate must
rise to maintain the current social security system, including the
pension program, exceeding the 48 PERCENT of respondents who
consider a consumption tax hike unnecessary. In the nationwide poll
conducted in October last year, 49 PERCENT said a tax hike was
inevitable, while an equal number said it was unnecessary. In the
poll this time around, the number of those resigned to a consumption
tax hike slightly topped those opposing it. The result will likely
affect tax debate in the future.

By gender, 54 PERCENT of male respondents said they believed a tax
hike was unavoidable, 10 PERCENT higher than those who did not
think so. Of the female respondents, 52 PERCENT said they did not
think a hike was necessary, against 46 PERCENT who considered it
inevitable. By age, more than half of those aged 50 or older
believed a hike was inevitable.

SCHIEFFER

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Gordon Campbell: On This Week’s NATO Debacle

For someone routinely cast as a clown presiding over an administration in chaos, Donald Trump has been very consistent about his agenda, and remarkably successful in achieving it, in the short term at least. More>>

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NZ Law Society: Rule Of Law Threatened In Nauru

“The recently enacted Administration of Justice Act 2018 is another clear sign of the deterioration of civil rights in Nauru,” the Law Society’s Rule of Law Committee convenor Austin Forbes QC says. More>>

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'Fixing' Family Separation: Executive Order Imprisons Families Indefinitely

Amnesty: President Trump signed an executive order today mandating for children to stay with their parents in detention while their asylum claims are processed. More>>

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