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Oct 23, 2014

IMF urges Japan to go ahead with planned tax hike next year

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan should go ahead with a second sales tax hike next year in order to maintain credibility of its fiscal framework, an International Monetary Fund official said on Thursday.

“Going ahead with the tax (hike) is very important,” said Roberto Guimaraes-Filho, deputy division chief of the Regional Studies Division at the IMF’s Asia Pacific Department.

Oct 22, 2014

Japan PM adviser Honda urges next sales tax hike be delayed till April 2017

TOKYO (Reuters) – An economic adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Wednesday that the next sales tax hike should be delayed by a year and half, until April 2017, given the big risk that the tax increase would pose for the country’s fragile economy.

Etsuro Honda, a University of Shizuoka professor and a prominent outside architect of Abe’s economic policies, made the comments to reporters after a meeting of more than 40 ruling party lawmakers who are growing wary about the planned sales tax hike late next year.

Oct 20, 2014

Japan ruling coalition ally seeks fresh stimulus to deal with weak yen

TOKYO (Reuters) – The junior partner in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition government called on Monday for fresh steps to stimulate the sputtering economy and to soften the pain of rising costs caused by the weak yen.

Keiichi Ishii, policy chief of the Komeito party, said the government needs to craft an extra budget given the economy’s weakness, regardless of Abe’s decision on whether to go ahead with a second sales tax hike in 2015 following one in April.

Oct 20, 2014

Japan casino plan likely delayed again, official says

TOKYO, Oct 20 (Reuters) – Japan’s plan to legalise casino
gambling has likely been delayed again, a senior official said
on Monday, dealing a further political blow to Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe.

Casino operators including Las Vegas Sands, Genting
Singapore, MGM Resorts and Melco Crown
Entertainment are waiting in the wings as potential
investors in what analysts say is one of the world’s biggest
untapped markets, worth tens of billions of dollars a year.

Oct 20, 2014

Yen at around 110 to the dollar a key pain point for Japan firms: Reuters poll

TOKYO (Reuters) – Nearly half of Japanese firms think the government should start defending the yen at this month’s dollar high of 110, a Reuters survey shows, underscoring the threat that rising fuel and other import costs pose to a fragile economy.

Over the past two years, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sought to boost the economy and cure deflation with bold monetary stimulus that has successfully wrought a much weaker yen.

Oct 17, 2014

Japan business confidence sags, outlook weak: Reuters Tankan

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese business confidence slipped to the lowest in 1-1/2 years in October and it is seen struggling to rebound, a Reuters poll showed, a further sign Tokyo may be forced to offer fresh policy support to recharge an economy ailing from a sales tax hike.

The loss of confidence follows a slew of weak data – including a shocking drop in factory output and falling household spending – and comes at a time of renewed turbulence in global markets amid worries over weakening global growth.

Oct 14, 2014

Concerns growing within Japan ruling party over weak yen: lawmaker

TOKYO (Reuters) – Concerns are growing about negative impacts of a weak yen within Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party and lawmakers will meet later this month to discuss the issue, one of the legislators said.

Masahiko Shibayama, who heads the party’s treasury and finance division, said it will hold a joint meeting with its cabinet division on the issue, inviting rank-and-file officials from the Bank of Japan and Cabinet Office.

Oct 10, 2014

Japan’s ‘Mr Yen’ sees dollar/yen moving in 106-111 range

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s former currency czar Eisuke Sakakibara said the dollar is likely to move in a range of 106-111 yen for the time being, adding that further rapid depreciation of the Japanese currency would be damaging to the resource-poor economy.

Sakakibara, who was known as “Mr Yen” in the 1990s when he led currency intervention to stem yen appreciation, said Japan would need to intervene to halt the yen’s descent if it accelerates toward 115-120 to the dollar, though he believed that chances of that are low now.

Oct 10, 2014

Japan drafts anti-money laundering bills under pressure from global watchdog

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s cabinet approved bills on Friday aimed at tightening rules against money laundering and terrorist financing in a bid to avoid getting on an international watchdog’s list of high-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions.

The move came months after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global standard setter for anti-money laundering, issued an unprecedented statement that singled out Japan for its failure to fix deficiencies through necessary legislation.

Oct 9, 2014

Japan machinery orders rise, ease concerns about economy

TOKYO, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Japan’s leading gauge of capital
spending rose for a third straight month in August, in a sign
firms are investing their profits in plants and equipment that
could bolster growth in the world’s third-largest economy.

The 4.7 percent monthly gain in core machinery orders in
August will help ease concerns the economy is losing traction
even as the Bank of Japan maintains ultra-loose monetary policy
and the government stands ready to deploy fresh fiscal stimulus.