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Government finance

Japan's Abe calls snap election, puts off tax hike

Japan's prime minister delays sales tax hike to 2017, calls snap election
Elaine Kurtenbach, The Associated Press

TOKYO - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a snap election for December and put off a sales tax hike planned for next year, seeking a renewed mandate for his all-or-nothing policies to end two decades of economic stagnation.

Despite those policies, the Japanese economy slipped into a recession last quarter after a sales tax increase in April crushed consumer and business spending. That forced Abe to delay the second hike planned for October next year until April 2017.

Japan's PM reshuffles Cabinet to win tax support

Japan's leader reshuffles Cabinet to win opposition support for tax hike proposal
Malcolm Foster, The Associated Press

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda replaced five members of his Cabinet on Friday in a bid to win more co-operation from the opposition to raise the sales tax and rein in the country's bulging fiscal deficit.

Two of the removed ministers had been censured by the opposition for making comments that were deemed inappropriate. Twelve posts were unchanged, including finance and foreign minister.

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