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Aso Falls Into Line With Supporters of Japan Tax-Hike Delay

  • Finance minister’s backing of postponement is an about-face
  • Abe to have press conference Wednesday, his office announces
Updated on

Finance Minister Taro Aso reversed course Tuesday, joining the ranks of lawmakers calling for a delay in a planned increase in Japan’s sales tax.

The about-face is a blow to officials at the finance ministry, who are among the strongest advocates for raising the levy to help contain Japan’s debt burden. Aso told his U.S. counterpart at a Group of Seven nations meeting as recently as May 21 that the tax hike would proceed as scheduled in April 2017, barring an economic shock on the level of the Lehman Brothers collapse or the 2011 earthquake in northern Japan.