Japan PM Says Cigarette Tax Hike One Option – Kyodo

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said an increase in cigarette taxes could be included in the tax hike to fund reconstruction works following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, Kyodo News reported Friday.

“It would be ill-balanced if we were to raise only corporate and income taxes,” Noda told reporters who accompanied him on his trip to New York. “I think increasing the cigarette tax should be considered an option.”

High cigarette tax

High cigarette tax

He also said he will compile the third extraordinary budget for the current fiscal year after fully hearing what the opposition bloc has to say about it.

On the disputed issue of relocating the U.S. Marine Corps” Futenma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture, he said he is ready to provide sufficient explanations to local residents without specifying an end date for concluding the issue.

His comments came after the two countries confirmed during the meeting between Noda and U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this week that Japan will continue to make efforts toward relocating the airbase within Okinawa in line with an existing bilateral accord, despite strong local opposition.

Referring to the controversy within his Democratic Party of Japan if the party membership suspension of the DPJ kingpin Ichiro Ozawa should be lifted, Noda, also DPJ president, said “there is no reason” to remove it.

Ozawa’s party membership was suspended earlier this year following his indictment over a political funds scandal.

Noda also reiterated he will not dissolve the lower house for a general election in the near future, saying a political vacuum should not be created at a time when the government is required to address the post-disaster reconstruction and work toward bringing the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant under control.

Noda visited New York to attend U.N. meetings.

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