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The tax burden in Japan increased by 0.9 percentage points from 29.4% to 30.3% in 2013¹. The corresponding figures for the OECD average were an increase of 0.4 percentage points from 33.8% to 34.2%.
With gross government debt of 226% of GDP, Japan’s fiscal situation is in uncharted territory and puts the economy at risk. Japan needs a detailed and credible fiscal consolidation plan, including specific revenue increases and measures to control spending to restore its fiscal sustainability.
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Japan is ranked 23rd among the 34 OECD member countries in decreasing order with a tax wedge of 31.9% for an average single worker in 2014 compared with the OECD average of 36.0%.
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The VAT revenues in Japan accounted for 9.2% of total tax revenue in 2012, the lowest of the OECD countries and far below the OECD average of 19.5%.
OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurría, congratulated Japanese Prime Minister Abe on his announcement today that Japan will raise its consumption tax as legislated from the current 5% to 8% next April.
This working paper presents the background and the details of the simulations behind Box 1.4 of the May 2013 OECD Economic Outlook. A small simulation model is used to evaluate the contribution that the three pillars of the government’s strategy – fiscal consolidation, growth-boosting structural reforms and higher inflation – could make to reversing the rise in Japan’s public debt ratio.
With gross government debt surpassing 200% of GDP, Japan’s fiscal situation is in uncharted territory. In addition to robust nominal GDP growth, correcting two decades of budget deficits requires a large and sustained fiscal consolidation based on a detailed and credible multi-year plan that includes measures to control spending and raise revenue.
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Agreement between Japan and Bermuda for the exchange of information relating to tax matters
Japan’s health-care system has provided universal access to care and contributed to the outstanding health status of the Japanese. Public spending has been kept below the OECD average through high co-payment rates and reductions in medical fees.
Japan needs a credible fiscal consolidation plan, including spending cuts and tax increases, to maintain confidence in its fiscal sustainability as gross public debt nears 200% of GDP in 2010.