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2008 OECD Economic Surveys: Japan 2008

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Japan 2008

This 2008 edition of OECD's periodic survey of the Japanese economy finds Japan experiencing the longest expansion in its post-war history.  Moving forward, this survey examines some of Japan's key challenges including bringing an end to deflation, achieving progress on fiscal consolidation, reforming the tax system, enhancing the productivity of the services sector, and coping with population ageing dualism.

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Reforming the tax system to promote fiscal sustainability and economic growth

Tax reform is an urgent priority, as Japan needs as much as 5% to 6% of GDP of additional government revenue just to stabilise public debt, which has risen to 180% of GDP. In addition to raising revenue, tax reform should promote economic growth, address the deterioration in income distribution and improve the local tax system. Additional revenue should be obtained primarily by increasing the consumption tax rate, currently the lowest in the OECD area, while broadening the personal and corporate income tax bases. The corporate tax rate, now the highest in the OECD area, should be cut to promote growth, while eliminating aspects of the tax system which discourage labour supply and distort the allocation of capital. Japan should also consider introducing an Earned Income Tax Credit to promote equity. The local tax system should be simplified, increasing reliance on existing taxes on property, income and consumption.

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