TOKYO, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The Japanese Cabinet endorsed a bill Friday that paves the way for raising the country's 5 percent consumption tax.
A clause in the bill leaves the timing of the tax hike subject to further review, Kyodo News reported.
Prime Minister Taro Aso had previously insisted the sales tax should be raised by the 2011 fiscal year, but opposition to the tax hike by members of his own Liberal Democratic Party led to a compromise, the news service said.
Aso directed Akira Amari, in charge of administrative reform, to study reforms to streamline the government to reduce wasteful spending. At a meeting discussing the bill, former Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki urged the government to study reforms and economic growth strategies before raising the sales tax.
Several Cabinet members defended the prime minister's tactic after the Democratic Party of Japan accused Aso of wavering.
"I don't have any impression that something has been pushed back," Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Kaoru Yosano said.