Japan joins global call for Robin Hood tax


8:55 am - February 18th 2010

by Chris Barnyard    


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A Japanese Finance Minister has called for the country to impose a tax on financial transactions to curb market volatility, also dubbed the ‘Robin Hood tax’.

Naoki Minezaki said market volatility threatened economic growth.

Bloomberg reports him saying::

“We’re seeing speculative funds flowing carelessly around the world — one day in stocks and real estate other times in oil and grains — and this is destroying the lives of ordinary people,” Minezaki wrote in an e-mail to supporters and reporters on Feb. 15. “We have to implement the Tobin Tax as part of international solidarity,” he said, adding that the levy could also boost revenue.

Japan is now fourth in the seven richest countries on the planet to endorse the Tobin, a.k.a. Robin Hood tax. It joins the leaders of Britain, France and Germany.

Owen Tudor at the ToUChstone blog welcomed the news, adding:

Four out of seven. Er, that’s a majority isn’t it? Of course, the US administration is yet to be convinced, but we are getting closer to the tipping point.For those who don’t like decisions being made by the richest countries in the world, the G7 does actually have traction on this issue, because most financial transactions do take place in those richest countries.

Over 70% of the value of global transactions are in just three: Britain, Germany and the USA. And there isn’t actually a mechanism to introduce a global tax, so in reality what a global tax means is the co-ordinated introduction of taxes by the countries where the financial transactions take place.

Japan’s move is likely to put pressure on the US to move in the same direction.

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About the author
Chris is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is an aspiring journalist and reports stories for LC.
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Reader comments


No it’s not. When has Japan ever pressured the US to do anything but fight a world war?

This talk misses the point that all of those countries are free to impose Tobin taxes on whatever financial transactions they choose. If investors choose to avoid the City in favour of New York and Chicago – or Hong Kong and Mumbai – after the government takes an anti-City like, that’s a predictable outcome, but I’m sure the moral stance is what matters.

Fortunately, we don’t run the world by majority, or else we would have gone Marxist-Leninist in the 1950s. Then again maybe LC would like that.

Have to say that I think you’ll have a long wait before the US does this. I don’t think another internationalist move would suit President Obama at this time.

And as Edward says, what’s to stop banks moving to countries that do not have the tax? If a democractic country (say, randomly, Belgium) votes not to impose a tax would we all ignore the rights of Belgian voters to decide their own government policy and impose something on them? The problem with international laws is that they ignore national sovereignity.

Ignoring whether one agrees with this tax or not, I just don’t see this ever being implemented.

Firstly, it requires heads of every country to sign up to it. 20 heads of state couldn’t agree on climate change, what makes people think that hundreds will agree to the Sheriff of Nottingham tax?

Secondly, even if you do somehow get all countries to sign up to this, all it takes is one new government in any country to decide to undo the work of its predecessor to bring it all tumbling down. The amount of money that would have to be spent on lobbying in order to keep governments all over the world from rescinding the tax would be huge, and a waste.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  2. gemma tumelty

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  3. TUCGlobal

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  5. Robin Hood

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  6. Chris Huang-Leaver

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  7. Derek Ramsay

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  11. Jon Rosling

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  12. Stefanie Wood

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  13. cyberdoyle

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  14. Hanna Thomas

    go mother country! RT @robinhood: Japan joins global call for Robin Hood tax http://bit.ly/9AFMIE #RHT

  15. Audrey

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  16. Emily Kendrick

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  17. SocioLingo Africa

    RT @robinhood: Japan joins global call for Robin Hood tax http://bit.ly/9AFMIE #RHT

  18. Sam Bumby

    Japan joins the call for a robin hood tax http://tinyurl.com/yldk8pd Hopefully they can start properly taxing bankers soon… #libcon

  19. The FT considers Tobin Taxes « Freethinking Economist

    […] would like to point out that – unlike what the crowing TUC and LibCon seem to think – this is NOT a Robin Hood tax.  Brazil’s 2% tax is about 40 times’ what Robin […]

  20. Tim Evans

    RT @RobinHood: Japan joins global call for Robin Hood tax http://bit.ly/9AFMIE #RHT

  21. nef

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  22. Cui

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  23. Shirley A.

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  24. Oxfam Scotland

    RT @robinhood: Japan joins global call for Robin Hood tax http://bit.ly/9AFMIE #RHT

  25. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  26. Martin Bentley

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  27. Ann Danylkiw

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  28. João Moura

    << Japan joins global call for Robin Hood tax >> http://bit.ly/9AFMIE RT @theneweconomics RT @libcon #TobinTax #RHT

  29. João Moura

    << Japan joins global call for Robin Hood tax >> http://bit.ly/9AFMIE RT @theneweconomics RT @libcon #TobinTax #RHT

  30. Richard Dillon

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  31. Helen Shipley

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  32. The Robin Hood Tax » A roundup of the campaign so far - a tiny tax on bankers to tackle poverty and climate change here and abroad.

    […] is growing for the tax among international politicians – two days ago, Japanese Vice Finance Minister Naoki Minezaki joined Brown, Merkel and Sarkozy in calling for a tax on financial […]

  33. sciamachy

    Japan joins UK, France etc in support of #RobinHood http://is.gd/9atxJ Kinda starts to chip away at the objections





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