Japan's Abe puts sales tax spotlight on growth data at G20

BRISBANE, Australia - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the meeting of 20 major economies that he was waiting for third quarter growth data before deciding whether to go ahead with a second planned hike in the consumption tax, a government official said on Sunday.

"Mr Abe talked about the three arrows and also his policy of managing the two issues: getting the Japanese economy out of deflation and fiscal soundness. That perspective is very relevant to his coming decision on consumption tax," said Kuni Sato, Press Secretary from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"He explained about how he will decide on this issue, that is to see figures for the third quarter that would come tomorrow." Data on Monday is expected to show Japan's economy expanded an annualised 2.1 per cent in July-September, a Reuters poll showed.

Such an outcome should be enough to allow the government to hike the sales tax next year, but the decision remains a close call. The Bank of Japan's expanded stimulus should help to ease the hit on consumption.

Asked if any G20 members raised concerns about the weak yen, another government official said there was none. "It looks like nobody mentioned other countries," said Kenko Sone, Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs, Director of Global Communications, from the Prime Minister's Office.

The "three arrows" are the fiscal policy, monetary stimulus and structural reform elements of Japan's "Abenomics" recovery strategy.