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It’s only been a few months since Japan’s consumption tax jumped from five to eight percent, making everything consumers buy instantly at least three percent more expensive. Some sneaky retailers even took advantage of the opportunity by tacking an extra three percent onto their displayed, pre-tax prices.

Now comes a rumor of an entirely new revenue stream the Japanese government might be moving to secure: a tax on cell phones.

In over a decade of living in Japan, I’ve never had a landline phone, nor can I think of a single person I know under the age of 35 who has one in his or her home. Mobile phones have gone from being a convenience to a necessity for most people’s lifestyles, especially as the number of two-income families continues to grow and spouses rely on cell phones to communicate with one another and their children. With essentially Japan’s entire adult population owning a cell phone, and in many cases multiple handsets for private and business use, there’s hardly a person in the country who wouldn’t be impacted.

Nevertheless, the Liberal Democratic Party has floated the idea of collecting a tax from cell phone users, and has set up a group to investigate the possibility. Leading the project is Diet member Yasuhide Nakayama.

Nakayama points to the need for tightened safety measures, which in turn require increased funding, in the wake of recent crimes with a connection to social media services. The committee is hoping to make a statement regarding the results of its deliberations sometime in or around this fall.

▼ No word as to whether or not Nakayama plans to use the pro wrestlers he’s pictured with here as the initiative’s tax collecting brigade.

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Given that the axiom “What goes up must eventually come down” doesn’t apply to taxes, it wasn’t long before Nakayama’s constituents started voicing their complaints on the politician’s Facebook page. “I definitely don’t want this to happen,” declared one. “You’re doing this even though you just raised the consumption tax?” questioned another.

Nakayama responded to these complaints by stating that he will “proceed while taking into consideration the opinions of a wide range of people,” and acknowledged the surprise and apprehension the move has stilled in many cell phone owners. “Nevertheless, we must start our investigation from the perspective of crime prevention and dealing with the diffusion of mobile phones among younger and younger users,” he asserted.

It’s speculated that the Liberal Democratic Party is mulling over a tax equal to a few hundred yen, which would likely be an annual figure. That still makes it a few hundred yen more than what Japan’s residents would be happy paying, however.

Source: Yahoo! News
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