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No link between tax hike, Lower House breakup: Aso

Tokyo, May 21 (Jiji Press) — Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso offered the view Tuesday that the scheduled consumption tax hike and whether to dissolve the House of Representatives for a snap election should be considered separately.

The tax “has nothing to do with” the breakup of the all-important lower chamber of parliament, Aso, also deputy prime minister, told a press conference.

He was commenting on speculation that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would dissolve the Lower House for a general election to ask voters whether the tax hike from 8 pct to 10 pct should be carried out in October as planned or postponed again.

Meanwhile, Aso said Japan’s gross domestic product data for January-March, released Monday, “aren’t bad.”

But he pointed out that the GDP data showed some weakness in the Japanese economy, including “delayed fixed business investment.”

The government will steer its economic policy while closely watching developments in the U.S. and Chinese economies as well as progress in the execution of the initial fiscal 2019 budget, Aso noted.

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