Jun 24

WITLife is a periodic series written by professional Writer/Interpreter/Translator Stacy Smith (Kumamoto-ken CIR, 2000-03). She starts her day by watching Fujisankei’s newscast in Japanese, and here she shares some of the interesting tidbits and trends together with her own observations.

A hot issue in Japan right now is PM Naoto Kan’s proposal of doubling the current sales tax of 5% (Coverage from earlier this week in the WSJ can be found here).  According to projections, an increase of this amount could lead to an additional 165,000 yen ($1829) from each household annually.  Kan has emphasized that he anticipates this being implemented over the next two to three years, but his willingness to even touch this kind of financial reform differs greatly from his DPJ predecessor Yukio Hatoyama (who had promised not to alter the sales tax for four years).

Response to this announcement have been mixed.  Surprisingly, a survey carried out by Yomiuri Shimbun found that 48 percent of voters supported Kan’s remarks on possibly doubling the sales tax in the future, whereas 44 percent did not.  However, Kan has encountered much opposition in the political arena.  A member from 社民党 (shamintou), or the Social Democratic party, says that one purpose of next month’s Upper House elections will be to stop this sales tax hike.  A member of 公明党 (komeitou), or the New Komeito party, employed a World Cup analogy and gave Kan a red card.

Speaking of soccer, at 2:30 this afternoon Japan plays its decisive match against Denmark to see whether it will advance to the next round or not.  As live coverage in Japan will be at 3:30 in the morning, I think there will be quite a few bleary-eyed Japanese at the workplace tomorrow.  Ganbare Nippon!

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