Tokyo, Japan (BBN)-Japanese shares have kicked off the week on a positive note on hopes that the government might delay a rise in sales tax due next year.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.82 per cent at the open to 16,973.72 points, reports BBC.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to delay the nation’s tax hike to 2019, according to media reports, including Japan’s Nikkei newspaper.
The next tax hike was supposed to take place in April next year, with an increase to 10 per cent from the current 8 per cent.
The planned increase was initially designed to help balance the national budget.
But there has been increasing pressure on Mr Abe to postpone the tax hike, to help Japan avoid slipping into deflation.
One report suggested an official announcement could take place on Wednesday, at the end of Japan’s current session on parliament.
Fresh data on Monday showed retail sales fell 0.8 per cent in April, compared to the previous year, not as bad as the 1.2 per cent drop expected by analysts.
At the start of the trading session, 148 stocks were trading up, with 67 stocks falling.
Technology stocks, including Panasonic, Sony and Sharp, were all in positive territory, while banking shares were mixed.
As for consumer-related shares, Fast Retailing, owner of clothing retailer Uniqlo saw its shares rise 0.41 per cent at the open.
In Australia, the ASX/200 was flat at the open at 5,403.80.
Meanwhile in South Korea the benchmark Kospi index has started the week slightly lower, down by 0.48 per cent at 1,959.65.
It is a shorter trading week elsewhere. Markets in the UK are shut on Monday for Spring bank holiday.
In the US, Wall Street is also shut due for Memorial Day.
Trading in those two markets will resume on Tuesday.