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Japan Should Consider Quake Tax, Recovery Panel Chief Says

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April 14 (Bloomberg) -- Japan should consider a new tax to help fund its recovery from the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear crisis, the chief of a government advisory panel on disaster reconstruction said.

“All the people should support and share the burden,” Makoto Iokibe, the head of the group advising Prime Minister Naoto Kan, said in a report today. The statement listed the sale of bonds and a disaster reconstruction tax as ways the public could contribute to the rebuilding effort.

The suggestion comes as rival lawmakers debate how to fund a disaster relief package of 4 trillion yen ($48 billion) in a country where public debt is twice the size of the economy. Kan has said the government shouldn’t sell bonds to pay for the measures.

Iokibe, who is head of Japan’s National Defense Academy, told reporters after today’s meeting that specific funding means have yet to be decided. The government has estimated the damage from last month’s earthquake and tsunami to be as much as 25 trillion yen.

Kan, speaking at the start of the 15-member group’s meeting today, asked for a “creative” plan by June to rebuild northeastern Japan.

Related News and Information: Top Stories: {TOP <GO>} Asia government news: {TNI ASIA GOV <GO>} Japanese politics: {TNI JAPAN POL <GO>} Japan catastrophe impact: {JCAT <GO>} Japan markets monitor: {OTC JPY <GO>}

To contact the reporters on this story: Sachiko Sakamaki in Tokyo at Ssakamaki1@bloomberg.net; Takashi Hirokawa in Tokyo at thirokawa@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg in Hong Kong at phirschberg@bloomberg.net