Japan PM: Act Now, or We'll End Up Like Europe

He wants to double the national sales tax

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 14, 2012 6:48 AM CST

(Newser) – With Japan's public debt twice the size of its GDP, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said the country needs to start making massive cuts to avoid the credit turmoil that has rocked Europe in recent months and caused credit downgrades across the eurozone yesterday, reports the AP. "Even France got its credit ratings changed," Noda said on a live TV talk show. "We'll be in a spotlight if Japan makes an impression that we are dwelling on the current fiscal policy and just let it slide. We must tackle the problems with considerable sense of crisis."

Noda shuffled his Cabinet yesterday, in an attempt to build support from the opposition and general public for cutting the deficit and raising the sales tax to 10% from its current 5%. With Japan's population on the decline, Noda said it's important that Japan reduce its debt burden, but his plans are unpopular with the public. "I will stake my political life to save and protect this country for future generations," he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda listens to a reporter's question during a press conference in Tokyo yesterday.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda listens to a reporter's question during a press conference in Tokyo yesterday.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
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