(Mainichi Japan) September 28, 2011
Rich Japanese should not receive tax breaks despite signs of fleeing overseas

A growing number of Japanese people are reportedly moving to Singapore where income and corporate tax rates are far lower than their home country.

A friend of mine who previously worked as a bureaucrat said celebrities were among those who have moved to Singapore.

I will withhold their names as it doesn't matter if they have chosen to live away from Japan.

However, the friend fears that higher tax rates will certainly prompt companies and human resources that are indispensable for Japan's growth to flee abroad sooner or later.

To prevent the outflow of key businesses and human resources, it is necessary to lower tax rates.

Corporate tax rates and the maximum rate for income taxes in Singapore and Hong Kong are less than half those in Japan, and these two territories levy no inheritance tax. In terms of tax rates, Japan cannot compete with them.

The friend warns that Japan will hollow out unless it substantially cuts taxes even though such a measure could stir criticism that Japan gives favorable treatment to businesses and wealthy people.

I share the rich exodus fears of my friend, but if Japan gives excessively favorable treatment to major companies and rich people, it will have harmful effects on society.

An article that Warren Buffet recently contributed to The New York Times has drawn worldwide attention.

In his article Buffet said he paid 17.4 percent of his taxable income as taxes, below the 20 percent that one of his secretaries paid, because most of his income is earnings from investments.

Buffet then called for higher tax rates for wealthy people.

Buffet was ranked second in U.S. magazine Forbes' list of the richest people in the country, while the Koch brothers, who own a petrochemical conglomerate, were ranked fourth.

(この部分英訳抜けです^^ by srachai)

Thanks to a rise in the prices of resources, the value of the brothers' combined assets has risen from 34 billion dollars four years ago to 50 billion dollars today.

However, it is notable that the number of employees at the company that the brothers run decreased from 80,000 to 67,000 even though they have become wealthier -- a fact that dismisses U.S. conservatives' claims that if the rich are given preferential treatment, less wealthy people will also get a small share of their benefits, eventually making everyone happy.

As the next U.S. presidential election approaches, President Barack Obama has ended his conciliatory stance toward the Republican Party and has become confrontational.

The liberal president has gone back to his principle of raising taxes for the rich and using increased tax revenue to finance public works projects.

The administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who is also regarded as a liberal, has adopted three basic principles of not saying anything unnecessary, not showing off and not standing out.

Can he overcome Japan's various crises with such simple principles? No doubt, Japan is set to hollow out.

(By Michio Ushioda, Expert Senior Writer)
毎日新聞 2011年9月28日 東京朝刊

by kiyoshimat | 2011-09-29 04:17 | 英字新聞

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