Japanese junior coalition party calls for debate on income tax cuts

By Takaya Yamaguchi

TOKYO (Reuters) -The head of the tax panel for the Japanese political party Komeito, a junior coalition partner with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), said on Tuesday a thorough debate is needed on a controversial plan to cut income tax next year.

Makoto Nishida, Komeito’s tax panel head, said that policymakers should not have a preset mind to limit the tax break to just a year, signalling a possibility to extend it beyond 2024.

“Flexible response would be called for given various factors for consideration such as a possibility of monetary normalisation and developments of the Middle East conflicts,” Nishida told reporters as lawmakers kick off their internal tax policy debate.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishiida of the LDP plans to adopt income tax cuts for the next fiscal year as part of a broader economic package to boost household incomes and consumption.

Opposition lawmakers have criticized the income tax cuts as politically motivated and ineffective as it takes time to implement and it could end up adding to the Japan’s debt burden, the industrial world’s largest.

(Additional reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)