TOKYO – Taro Aso, retained as deputy prime minister and finance minister, has been integrally involved in setting the stage for a planned increase in Japan’s consumption tax on Oct. 1, after twice postponing it.
An ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Aso has played a key role in the Abenomics policy mix which has aimed to lift Japan’s economy out of deflation through drastic monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms, with limited success.
Known for his often controversial outbursts, Aso, a grandson of former Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida, has repeatedly come under fire for his gaffes, including some targeting the elderly and the childless.
Himself a former prime minister, the 78-year-old Aso represented Japan as a skeet shooter in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. He is also known for his love of manga and panama hats.