- Sputnik International, 1920, 24.01.2023
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Japanese PM Kishida Urged to Hold Early Elections Ahead of Record Defense Tax Rise

© AFP 2023 / DAVID MAREUILJapan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a press conference in Tokyo on December 16, 2022
Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a press conference in Tokyo on December 16, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.01.2023
In December, Tokyo announced that it would boost its defense budget for 2023 to a record 6.8 trillion yen ($55 billion) in the face of what it sees as security threats allegedly posed by China, North Korea, and Russia.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida should announce general elections in the near future in order to re­-establish his mandate, two new opinion polls have revealed.
Almost 63% of respondents to a survey by the Japanese newspaper Nikkei and about 77% of those who took part in a separate poll by Kyodo News said that the elections should come ahead of any increase in Japan’s tax burden, aimed at funding Kishida’s plans for a record increase in defense spending and providing more support for families with children.
Although many in the Kyodo poll said they approved of the government’s blueprint to increase spending on children, almost 64% of respondents said they opposed a corresponding tax hike.
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a session at the G20 Leaders' Summit, in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.11.2022
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Kishida’s plan stipulates doubling defense outlays to about two percent of gross domestic product over five years and makes Japan the world’s third-biggest military spender after the United States and China.
In December, only 6% of surveyed said they believe Kishida is suitable for his position. His government has been under fire from voters over rising inflation and doing little to raise people’s living standards.
Also in December, Tokyo announced that a 20 percent increase in the country’s defense budget for 2023 to a record 6.8 trillion yen ($55 billion). The goal is to protect itself from what Tokyo sees as growing security risks from China, North Korea, and Russia.
In October 2021, Kishida succeeded Yoshihide Suga, who stepped down after just one year in office amid record low public approval ratings over the government's inefficient handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and slow vaccination rates linked to limited supply of foreign drugs.
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