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Concerns remain about reward points plan to temper tax hike

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Concerns are growing over the planned program to provide an incentive for cashless payments for purchases by offering a special return in reward points.

Does the government intend to proceed with the plan, which is part of the policy package to temper the economic effects of the scheduled consumption tax hike, without making serious efforts to address the concerns?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised “careful and meticulous” efforts to prevent the program, to be introduced when the consumption tax rate is raised to 10 percent from 8 percent in October, from causing “confusion” among retailers and ensure that consumers will feel “secure” about their purchases.

As more details about the program have become clear, however, both retailers and consumers have come to feel even more uncertain and uneasy about it.

The program will give shoppers reward points worth 5 percent of their payments if the purchases are made with credit cards or smart cards at small and midsize retail stores and 2 percent for those at outlets operated by retail chains such as convenience........

© The Asahi Shimbun