Japan's Abe talks economics, but not sales tax, with French Nobel laureate

[TOKYO] Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed the global economy, eurozone instability and low interest rates with French economist Jean Tirole on Thursday as Mr Abe prepares to host a Group of Seven summit.

Mr Abe and Mr Tirole, who won the Nobel Prize in economics for his work on corporate regulation, also discussed structural reforms countries need to undertake to restore confidence in the economic outlook, Japan's government said in a statement.

The pair did not discuss the issue of raising Japan's sales tax next year. Some of Mr Abe's closest advisers and overseas economists have called on Mr Abe to shelve a plan to raise the tax to avoid damaging already weak consumer spending.

Mr Abe is meeting with foreign economists to help him prepare to host a summit of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors in May.

The Japanese premier has said that he plans to use the G7 summit to urge other countries to coordinate their policies to accelerate global growth, and economists say this could pave the way to more fiscal spending from Japan.

The Group of 20 in February called for more fiscal spending and less reliance on monetary policy to strengthen the fragile global economy.


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