The Japanese government has introduced an carbon tax on Monday, in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This tax comes on top of an already existing one for businesses paying for crude oil and coal imports. The government will raise the tax every two years until 2016.
Companies are likely to raise prices in order to cover higher fuel bills, which will obviously affect consumers. Gasoline and utility costs are expected to rise as well. The money gained will be used to boost clean energy and power-saving projects, but many people are arguing that this tax will have only a small effect.
Japan is by no means the first country to begin a carbon tax; perhaps the most recent example of carbon taxing came from Australia, in July of this year; and more will follow suit. According to the Climate Commission, “33 countries and 18 sub-national jurisdictions will have a carbon price in place” by 2013.
For the average household, this may equate to an increase in taxes by about 1,200 yen ($15) per year by 2016. This is not necessarily a huge concern, but there’s still a lot of variables we can’t yet anticipate. On a larger scale, what’s a bit more significant is the money spent on the US. It’s now reported that at the current rate, Japan could overtake China as America’s biggest creditor by the end of the year. But this is only one part of the bigger context.
It’s also worth mentioning that Tokyo is already the most expensive city in the world; and Japan has just recently raised the consumption tax as well. Needless to say, many are struggling in the Japanese economy.
In the grand scheme of things, I don’t feel that the tax is too unreasonable. It’s clear that Tokyo wastes energy – as does every big city – and it’s for a good cause. But many others are not so optimistic, and it seems that the clock is now ticking on current Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.