Abe to decide on sales tax before APEC meeting: Amari

Economic and fiscal policy minister Akira Amari said Sunday that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a final decision on whether to raise the consumption tax next April before attending the APEC leaders' meeting from Oct. 7 in Indonesia.

"While it has not yet been decided when the premier will reach the final decision, and it depends on him, I think the timing will be between late September and early October," Amari told an NHK program.

He also indicated Abe is likely to refer to the Bank of Japan's Tankan business sentiment survey due out Oct. 1 before making up his mind.

After the program, he told reporters that key Cabinet members have been sharing the view that the premier will come to a decision before the APEC meeting.

The government plans to raise the sales tax rate to 8 percent from the current 5 percent in April 2014 and to 10 percent in October 2015, aiming to cover swelling social security costs amid the increasing proportion of elderly people in Japan.

Some experts have argued, however, that the tax hike should be postponed or carried out at a slower pace to mitigate its impact on the recuperating economy.