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Japan's Abe to delay sales tax hike

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to delay a sales tax hike set for next April, the Nikkei reported on Friday.

[TOKYO] Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided to delay a sales tax hike set for next April, the Nikkei reported on Friday.

Mr Abe is expected to announce the delay after further consideration, including talks with fellow Group of Seven leaders at a summit in Japan, the paper reported.

Economists were betting Mr Abe would delay a rise in the tax to 10 per cent from 8 per cent, given weak consumption, limp wage growth and a stronger yen.

The proposed hike was being seen by fiscal hawks as needed to curb bulging public debt and pay for huge social security costs.

Mr Abe will hold a news conference June 1 following the close of the current legislative session. The Nikkei said government and ruling coalition officials see this as a possible opportunity to announce his decision.

REUTERS