Top senior officials of the ruling and opposition parties appeared live on the program and discussed the pros and cons of raising the consumption tax hike to 10% as originally planned in April 2017. LDP Vice President Komura said: “Unless there is a major event such as the financial crisis after the ‘Lehman Shock’ or a major earthquake, we should raise the consumption tax. As of today, what we are experiencing is not at the level of the ‘Lehman Shock.’ Some say that some LDP members claim we should postpone the tax hike for the sake of the upcoming election, but I haven’t heard anyone say that…We will lose the election if we start saying such a thing. There is no need to link postponing the tax hike and holding the Lower House election and Upper House election at the same time.” Komeito leader Yamaguchi said: “I believe that the prime minister should not facilely postpone [the tax hike] and he is saying that he will go ahead with it unless we have a serious situation. If indeed we face a serious situation, we must undertake an analysis, make a political decision, and revise the law. However, our basic understanding is that we are not in a serious situation.”
Meanwhile, Democratic Party leader Okada said: “The law stipulates that administrative reform should be undertaken, but nothing has been done. The economic situation is extremely tough. Therefore, although it would be a tough decision, I must say that postponing the tax hike is one option…If there is a postponement, it would be a clear violation of the prime minister’s public pledge and he should resign instead of dissolving the Lower House.” All other opposition party leaders expressed opposition to the planned tax hike.