Unmanned buses, taxis planned for 2020.
The race is on to develop driverless vehicles, including buses and taxis. Japanese government officials say they are going to give the green light to public transport operators aiming to go driverless by the year 2020 – that’s the year Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games. The officials say operators will be obliged to take full responsibility in the event of accidents*. The companies will need to have systems that monitor their unmanned vehicles remotely and stop them when problems arise. The officials plan to amend the Road Traffic Law and study other measures. They will also call on would-be operators to start test runs on roads in special zones designated by the government.
*=Operators will have an obligation to take complete responsibility for accidents.
‐In the 2020, our driverless taxi cabs will be running around Tokyo, and they will be welcoming guests from around the world, just like the way the bullet train did in 1964. So, please keep supporting us. Thank you.
Abe announces tax hike delay
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made official his plan to postpone a consumption tax hike. It was scheduled for next April, but Abe wants it pushed back by two and a half years. The change has to be approved by the Diet first. Abe says he wants voters to weigh in on his decision during the Upper House election set for July 10th.
My decision this time to postpone the tax hike differs from the promises I have made before. It is a new decision. I am aware of criticism that it is a violation of our policy pledge, and I would like to sincerely face that criticism. Now that I have decided to seek public approval on the decision, I aim to get a majority of contested seats by the ruling coalition in the Upper House election.
Abe says he believes the domestic economy is recovering, crediting his policy of “Abenomics” for bringing more jobs and higher household incomes. But he says the biggest concern is the slowdown in China and other emerging markets because he says it could slow down the global economy.
Prime Minister Abe’s decision to postpone the consumption tax hike will weigh on two of the government’s chief policy goals – the restoration of fiscal health and boosting social security. Studies show a consumption tax rise from eight to 10 percent could net the government extra annual revenues of more than 50 billion dollars. The funds have been earmarked for social security, such as medical and pension programs. The additional revenue would also speed pension payments and boost child welfare. The aging population has sent all the above costs soaring. The budgets are currently being covered by debt-financing bonds. Abe’s postponement of the tax hike also affects plan to restore fiscal health. The administration had aimed to turn Japan’s primary balance into a surplus by fiscal 2020.
‐It can’t be helped. Raising the tax now won’t help the economy recover.
‐We should raise the consumption tax, so my generation can get pensions.