Statement Regarding Prime Minister Abe’s Announcement of the Decision to Raise the Consumption Tax

Today, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formally announced that the consumption tax would rise in April next year. As we have constantly warned since our Party was formed in 2009, an increase in the consumption tax would only lead to the sinking of the Japanese economy, and we are disappointed that we were not able to prevent this rise.

While we acknowledge there has been an improvement in the economy thanks to the Abenomics effect, small and medium enterprises are not seeing improvements in their business confidence at the same rate that major corporations are. We hear a lot of compelling testimony to the effect that companies will not be able to pass this tax increase onto the consumer, and instead it will seriously harm the company’s own survival. Wages are not going up, and there must still be very few people who feel that the economy has recovered. In fact, with increased prices for electricity and daily goods as a result of the ongoing weak yen and the nuclear power plant stoppage, the additional burden of a consumption tax increase will mean even more strain on household budgets, negatively affecting consumption. Around 60% of Japan’s GDP is consumer spending, but if this tax increases causes the amount of disposable income to decrease and consumer spending to slump, then it is clear that there will be major damage to the entire Japanese economy.

In addition, when the consumption tax was raised in 1997, there was a steep rise in suicides in 1998, the following year. It is not hard to imagine that there will be many more people taking their own lives due to the financial hardships this tax increase will cause. As a religious political party, we are utterly unable to accept a rise in the consumption tax that will lead to unhappiness among the citizens.

Clearly, an increase in the consumption tax could weaken the economy, so Prime Minister Abe has announced an economic stimulus of five trillion yen. But it goes without saying that this is very much a case of putting the cart before the horse. What we need is not a tax increase but economic growth. We in the Happiness Realization Party propose powerful monetary easing and major cuts in corporate tax, the development of value-added future industries, and promoting a traffic revolution through steps like the early opening of the linear motor maglev Shinkansen in time for the Tokyo Olympics. By working to increase tax revenues through economic growth, we believe that finances will be revitalized, and we can maintain our social welfare system once we have carried out drastic reform.

To Prime Minister Abe, we point out yet again that this increase in the consumption tax is a mistake, and the Happiness Realization Party hereby declares that we are adamantly opposed to a further tax increase. Thanks to this decision, taken without the input of the citizens, Japan will be dragged down and sunk, so we at the Happiness Realization Party intend to continue doing all we can to pave the way to an ideal future.

Ryoko Shaku,
Party Leader,
Happiness Realization Party