Japan finance minister: no convincing reason to delay sales tax hike

TOKYO Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:30am EDT

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso speaks during a semi-annual parliament hearing on monetary policy at the Lower House of the parliament in Tokyo June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Japan's Finance Minister Taro Aso speaks during a semi-annual parliament hearing on monetary policy at the Lower House of the parliament in Tokyo June 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Wednesday that he has not heard of any convincing reasons why the government should delay a sales tax hike planned for next year.

Aso, speaking at a press conference, also reiterated his view that there is no reason for the government to reconsider its schedule for tax increases.

Under a multi-party agreement last year, the tax is to rise to 8 percent from 5 percent next April and to 10 percent in October 2015 to pay for rising welfare costs.

However, the government must certify that the economy is strong enough to withstand the pain of the tax hikes before making a final decision by October on whether to carry out the plan.

(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Shinichi Saoshiro)

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