Dr. Eisaku Ide
Department of Economics, Public Finance
Dear Professor Ide,
I am writing this letter to explain my motivation in attending Keio University and study focusing on public finance. It would be greatly appreciated if you could give this a thought.
Introduction – We often hear the term “VAT” when we travel overseas, but what is it and how was this adopted in many places over time? Instead of the term, we are only familiar with import, income and consumption taxes in Japan, and our consumption tax is getting higher and higher. But is this a result of transition to better tax system or was there ever a major tax reform like it happened in the west?
Research – Look into different types of VAX in the world and list its advantage. Why has Japan’s tax system developed and worked along with welfare in a different form from other developed countries? Compare tax reforms that took place and navigate the most effective taxation system that promotes exports and imports at balance.
Argument – VAT was initially introduced in the EU, as a form of transparent turnover taxation system, added to every stage of manufacturing to sales endpoints based on the goods value. It is a flat rate tax that usually comes in 3 forms – Standard, Reduced and Zero regulated by the government. Japan started using some sort of value added tax in 1989, where we started paying consumption tax based on the goods type and value recognized in the market. For example, 5% was the standard for all items with the exception of 8% and higher for luxury items such as liquor and jewellery. What’s frequently asked, is how Japan survive on such low tax rate compared to other developed nations where VAT adds up to 15% and above.
Findings – VAT makes up one-fifth of most countries’ tax income, which later is either invested on social welfare and national debts. Japan has a very large amount of national debts however, has a small amount of investment required in social services. This is because domestic companies generated so much during economic miracle post war and most social services were taken care of by housewives and donation to local government.
Conclusion – Another tax reform is needed in Japan, as the dynamic changes and there is more working class women and increasing welfare need to support the elders. It would be absolutely exciting to join your seminar and research on tax reforms in depth to find out what is happening in Japan.
Thank you and Best Regards,
*The tax-welfare mix: explaining Japan’s weak extractive capacity, Gene Park and Ide Eisaku, The Pacific Review Vol.27 2014 *Worlds of Taxation: The Political Economy of Taxing, Spending and Redistribution since 1945, Gisela Huerlimann, W. Elliot Brownlee and Eisaku Ide eds.,, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018年