Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said his government will raise the rate of sales tax to eight percent from 1 April next year.
Mr Abe (pictured) was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying the tax hike was aimed at "maintaining the nation's trust and handing over a sustainable social security system to the next generation".
Policymakers argue that the move will help reduce Japan's public debt which now stands as around 230 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).
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