- consumption tax hike
- 消費増税（後出 tax rise は増税、tax rate は税率、tax revenue は税収）
- social welfare
- extraordinary ... meeting
- take measures
- 対策を講じる（後出 countermeasures は対策）
- aging and lower birth rates
- head on
- fiscal structure
- 財政構造（後出 fiscal ～は～年度）
- gross domestic product
- (→ shrank)縮小する
- in a row
- a trillion
- in a bid to ～
PM Abe confirms consumption tax hike in 2019
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced on Oct. 15 that his government will raise the consumption tax to 10 percent on Oct. 1, 2019, to secure funds to implement his "all-generation" social welfare policies.
Abe made the announcement during an extraordinary Cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office, and instructed his ministers to take measures to prevent the tax hike from slowing down the economy.
"We must tackle national crises such as aging and lower birth rates head on," Abe told his ministers in announcing the tax rise. "We will turn around our social welfare system toward one that covers all generations, while reforming our fiscal structure."
The decision came after Abe postponed the hike twice out of concerns for its negative economic impact.
Japan's gross domestic product shrank for two quarters in a row after the consumption tax was raised from 5 percent to 8 percent in April 2014.
But this time, the government plans to keep the tax rate for food items at 8 percent and funnel about 2 trillion yen of the new tax revenue into free educational programs in a bid to reduce economic damage.
Such countermeasures will be incorporated into the state budgets for fiscal 2019 and 2020.