Revision to spousal tax deduction system likely to be minor

https://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/revision-to-spousal-tax-deduction-system-likely-to-be-minor

 

TOKYO —

A drastic change in Japan’s tax system to encourage greater workforce participation by women could have been an effective prescription to addressing a labor shortage in the rapidly aging country.

But a revision to the spousal tax deduction system is likely to be a minor one in this year’s tax system reform plan, due mainly to opposition from within the ruling parties, despite eagerness expressed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“We will encourage women to work without making adjustment,” Abe told a meeting of the government’s tax commission on Sept 9. “We would like to create a (tax) system which is neutral to various ways of working.”

The spousal tax deduction system imposes a 1.03 million yen annual limit on spousal earnings for households to qualify for the tax break.

Though the system was introduced in 1961 to support housewives, it has been criticized for discouraging women from working long hours so they can be eligible for the tax break.

Under the system, taxpayers can claim a special deduction of 380,000 yen from their taxable income if their spouse earns no more than 1.03 million yen a year.

The revision to the spousal tax deduction system was seen as a key policy objective of the prime minister to promote more women to join social and business activities, as Abe set up a new panel last month to reform the country’s working practices.

“The biggest challenge in the Japanese economy is a declining potential growth rate,” said Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co, adding that what the country needs is a policy to fully utilize the existing labor force.

“The spousal tax deduction system should be scrapped in order to address this issue, but it is disappointing to have backed away from such a move,” Kodama said.

According to government data in 2012, employment income of married women from 30 to 60 years old concentrated around 1 million yen, indicating that they are adjusting labor.

The Japan Association of Corporate Executives, or Keizai Doyukai, has proposed the government scrap the spousal tax deduction, arguing 1 trillion yen in additional tax revenue to be generated by ending the tax break should be used to help raise children to addres low birthrates.

“To revitalize the Japanese economy, we have to increase our labor force,” said Yoshio Sato, head of the business lobby’s Fiscal and Tax Reform Committee. “Since our country cannot actively accept immigrants, we have to utilize the potential workforce at home.”

Prior to full-fledged discussions, the tax commission chief of Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Yoichi Miyazawa, indicated willingness to bring a “major revision” to the system. “Review of the spousal deduction is one of the pillars,” he said on Aug 30.

LDP policy chief Toshimitsu Motegi displayed a more positive stance, calling for the introduction of an income tax system which does not set a limit on spouses’ income and having the shift reflected in a tax system reform plan for fiscal 2017 starting April.

But Tetsuo Saito, tax commission chief of the LDP’s coalition partner Komeito, expressed a cautious view. “We need thorough discussions,” he said in an interview with Kyodo News on Sept 23. “It is absolutely unacceptable to have the issue decided hastily.”

The party was apparently worried about an increased burden on households with homemakers, who are key supporters for Komeito, with speculation looming that Abe could call a snap election as soon as January.

Some LDP lawmakers were also cautious as the new system would increase tax payment among their supporters and stuck with the view that wives should stay home rather than work outside.

“We need more time to persuade our female supporters,” a senior Komeito lawmaker said.

On Thursday, Miyazawa expressed the view that shifting the spousal tax deduction system to a new one will be difficult, citing there are “many challenging issues.” But he reiterated his willingness to overhaul the current system in the future.

Now the 55-year-old spousal tax deduction system is likely to remain in place with a minor change, with the limit on spousal earnings lifted to around 1.5 million yen or above, exceeding the 1.3 million yen line, which obliges spouses pay for social security premiums.

“As Prime Minister Abe has a very strong government base, he needs to exercise his strong leadership to realize major reforms in structural reforms,” but there has been little progress recently, said Kodama of Meiji Yasuda, questioning his seriousness in conducting reforms.

Kodama also pointed to a problem that many elections in the country are depriving lawmakers of incentives to conduct structural reforms, which needs a long-range perspective.

“Even the Abe government cannot escape from such a spell,” Kodama said. “Most lawmakers are worried about whether they can win the next election and reluctant to move forward reforms from long-term standpoint.”

© KYODO

“Anti Islam” posters consistent with teachings of Canadian Imams, Islamic literature

Anti Islam protest reached last week Calgary and Edmonton. Around 40 of anti-Islam posters were found on October 4, 2016 in various locations in the campus of the University of Calgary. On the same week several residents in a southwest Edmonton neighbourhood received anti-Islam flyers in their mailboxes.

Sgt. Eric Levesque, hate crimes coordinator with the Calgary Police Service, said that the posters are “very offensive”, but “if you remove the bad words the message itself does not contravene Canada’s hate speech laws.”

The posters found at the University of Calgary feature radical Muslims shouting with mouth open accompanied with the following caption:

Dear Muslims,

F— your beheadings

F— your Sharia [Islamic Law]

F— your genital mutilations

F— your TAQIYYA [deception and lying in Islam]

F— your Mohammed [prophet of Islam]

F— your Quran [Islam’s holy book]

On the other hand, you can keep your barbaric ways, right where they belong, in your 7th-century homelands. #GetTheF–OuttaHere

The flyers sent to residents of Edmonton read:

Here’s ‘Islam’ for you:

Islam teaches that non-Muslims are less than fully human. Muhammad said that Muslims can be

put to death for murder, but that a Muslim could never be put to death for killing a non-Muslim.

Islam is the only religion that has to retain its membership by formally threatening to kill

anyone who leaves. This is according the example set by Muhammad.

Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, had people killed for insulting him or for criticizing

his religion. This included women.

Muslims are told to emulate the example of Muhammad.

Does this delusional 7th-century cult really belong here?

#BANISLAM”

The arguments on the anti-Islam posters and flyers appear to be consistent with the teachings of Canadian imams and Islamic literature in Canada.

Flyer: Muslims are told to emulate the example of Muhammad

Jasser Auda, Imam and scholar (Ottawa): “The ummah [nation] of Mohammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, is defined by following Mohammad, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, and following Mohammad means to follow his Shariah [Islamic Law]. So the Sharia is the core identity of thisUmmah [Muslim nation]…”

Flyer: Muslim could never be condemned to death for killing a non-Muslim

Islamic ruling: The death penalty does apply to a Muslim who kill a non-Muslim civilian and he has to pay blood money. The book Minhaj al-Muslim – A Book of Creed Manners, Character, Acts of Worship and other Deeds – (sold in ICNA and ISNA bookstores in the Greater Toronto Area) adds (Vol. 2, p. 492-493), “If the victim was a non-Muslim under the protection of the Islamic State (Dhimmi), whether he was a Jew, a Christian or of some other religion, his blood money is half the blood money of the Muslim [in case of an unintentional killing]. The blood money of their females is half the blood money of their males. This is due to the Prophet’s statement: “The blood money of the disbeliever is half the boold money of the (Muslim) man.” (At-Tirmithi and it is hasan [reliable]).”

Flyer: Muslim who left Islam is subject to death penalty

Ahmed Abdul Kader Kandil, member of Conseil des imams du Québec (Imams Council of Quebec) – In asermon on May 12, 2013 at Alrawdah Mosque in Montreal (originally in Arabic), Kandil explained “The Types of Apostasy” and among other things said the following: The second case deals with a person who fights against Allah and His messenger and joined a vile group. His verdict will not be a regular execution. His verdict will be identical to the punishment for banditry. ‘Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that theybe killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides.’ [Quran 5:33]. This is the difference between them. The first will be asked to repent and the second [type of apostate]will be killed immediately without repentance or asking him to repent…”

Flyer: People who insult Mohammad are subject to death penalty

Said Rageah, Imam and an instructor for the AlMaghrib Institute (Toronto), implicitly justified the death penalty for apostates and those who insult the prophets. Montreal Imam Ahmed Kandil said that “those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger… be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides.”

Poster: Death penalty is executed by beheading the convicted

The book Minhaj al-Muslim – A Book of Creed Manners, Character, Acts of Worship and other Deeds(sold in ICNA and ISNA bookstores in the Greater Toronto Area) adds (Vol. 2, p. 529): “The Prophet’s [Mohammad] statement: “The Hadd [fixed] punishment of the magician is striking with the sword.” This means that he is killed according to Islamic Legislation for his criminal offence, which is apostasy or heresy (Az-Zandaqah) or magic.”

Poster: Islam orders female genital mutilation

Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, Imam and scholar (Toronto), said that Islam permits female circumcision, which is a “slight” cut that does not affect the ability of women to achieve sexual satisfaction.

Free Islamic literature in Toronto introduces the “true Islam” to non-Muslims

Muslim Dawah (outreach, “call to Islam”) activists at Toronto’s Dundas Square, those affiliated with Walk-In Islamic InfoCentre (WIIC), distributed during recent years a variety of Islamic literature.

The following are the highlights of some of Islamic books/booklets which were obtained by CIJnews:

  • Homosexuality is a major sin

  • Liberated’ Western women… are trapped in a form of slavery
  • Polygamy is permitted in certain conditions

  • Wife must obey the “commands” of her husband

  • Wife beating is permissible in certain conditions (“Submissive or subdued women… may even enjoy being beaten”)

  • Muslims have a duty to spread the message of Islam in society

  • Prayers to Allah to give Muslims victory over the disbelievers
  • Non-Muslims of an Islamic State have to pay the jizya (poll-tax) tax
  • Punishment of flogging for public intoxication and traffickers

  • Punishment of stoning to death for married adulterers

  • Punishments of amputation (hand and leg), crucifixion and execution in serious crimes
  • Punishment of cutting off the hand for the thief

  • Punishment of execution for apostates
  • Possession of slaves is permissible in certain conditions.

To read a compilation of selected excerpts from these books click HERE.