Japanese PM calls for comprehensive tax reform

Updated: 2011-01-04 11:25
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TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Tuesday that the government must consider comprehensive tax reform, including raising the sales tax and that he plans to create a coherent reform plan for the nation's tax system around June this year in light of rising welfare spending.

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Speaking at his first news conference of the year, the Japanese prime minister said he wishes 2011 to be a clean sheet for Japan economically and called for further cross-party cooperation to help combat the nation's public debt which is already about twice the size of its $5-trillion economy.

Last month, the Japanese Cabinet approved a record 92.4- trillion-yen ($1.11 trillion) draft budget aimed at creating new jobs and kick starting Japan's sluggish economy.

Amid prior speculation and falling approval ratings, Kan said during the nationally televised news conference he has no plans to dissolve the House of Representatives for a general election, although he will take a more proactive stance on money-tainted politics this year.

He hinted that the ruling Party's strongman Ichiro Ozawa may be ousted following his indictment for political funding improprieties.

Voicing his intention to start multi-party debate on reforming Japan's social security system., Kan also said he wanted to work to decrease the burden of the US military presence in Okinawa.