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Japan implements 2-percent VAT hike to fund social security

Tokyo / The Japanese government on Tuesday started implementing an increase in value-added tax from 8 to 10 percent in order to fund the country’s rising social security costs.

The VAT was last increased in 2014, when the rate stood at five percent.

The move is a key part of the strategy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government’s to give a new impetus to the world’s third-largest economy and tackle the challenge of mounting public debt.

The government had been twice forced to postpone the increase in VAT since the originally-planned date (October 2015) due to negative developments in the national economy and a fear of it affecting domestic consumption.

To mitigate the impact on household spending, the government has decided to exempt fresh food and other basic products from the tax hike while promoting a system of bonuses for consumers who pay for their purchases by credit cards or other electronic payment systems.

The VAT increase is expected to generate additional annual revenues of 5.7 trillion yen ($52.7 billion), which will be used to finance public health and pension systems, as well as the construction of more daycare centers.

The prime minister said the aim was to guarantee social security for a wide range of people, from children to the elderly, as well as increase benefits for low-income pensioners. (October 1, 2’19, EFE/Practica Español)

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Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas (Read the news and answer the questions)

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Question 1
Principalmente, en el texto se habla... (Mainly in the text, it's talked about...)
de una medida que ha tomado el Gobierno de Japón.
del envejecimiento de la población en Japón.
de lo que piensa la población de Japón sobre unas medidas adoptadas por el Gobierno.
Question 2
Según el texto, el Gobierno subió el IVA... (According to the text, the Government raised VAT...)
para que se puedan pagar las pensiones y el sistema sanitario.
para que los japoneses paguen menos por los productos que compren.
para que los japoneses consuman menos.
Question 3
Si el Gobierno sube el IVA en unos productos... (If the Government raises VAT on some products...)
los consumidores pagarán menos cuando los compren.
el precio seguirá siendo el mismo.
los consumidores tendrán que pagar más dinero por ellos.
Question 4
Según el texto... (According to the text...)
no es la primera vez que el Gobierno japonés sube el IVA.
los japoneses están protestando por esta subida del IVA.
el Gobierno japonés no cree que la subida del IVA pueda afectar negativamente a la economía.
Question 5
En el vídeo se dice que... (It's said in the video that...)
también se subirá el IVA en los alimentos frescos.
se harán descuentos a las personas que paguen en efectivo.
en 2014 el IVA subió del 3 al 5%.
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