Most papers noted that at the G7 Summit yesterday, PM Abe was apparently adamant about drawing parallels between the current state of the world economy and that of the 2008 global economic crisis for political reasons at home, explaining that he desperately needs this justification to put off the planned consumption tax hike with the ultimate goal of ensuring the ruling coalition’s victory in the July Upper House election. He has been saying repeatedly that he will go ahead with the tax hike unless the global economy experiences a severe crisis like the one in 2008. The opposition camp has insisted that a postponement would suggest that “Abenomics” has been a failure.
The dailies projected that the premier will make a formal decision on the postponement in the near future, adding that he probably will not dissolve the Lower House for a snap election to coincide with the summer Upper House race. Yomiuri wrote that the prime minister may choose to put off the tax hike by two years to April 2019. Several papers wrote that many Japanese economists expressed doubts about Abe’s explanation that the present state of the global economy is similar to the situation right before the 2008 economic crisis.