Japan’s economy expanded at a significantly faster rate in the second quarter than initially reported, the government said on Monday, increasing the chances that Shinzo Abe, prime minister, will press ahead with a contentious sales tax increase.
So to recap, an economy finally regains its footing - or, rather, after years of policy-induced stagnation, finally shows a glimmer of hope. And the government wishes to crush that incipient bud with a tax increase. When discussing institutions, always keep an eye on incentives - the incentive of government is to grow. See:
Scenario 1: The economy is in recession
Solution: The government needs funds to help spur on the economy! Raise taxes!
Scenario 2: The economy is improving.
Solution: With everything getting better, we can now recoup revenue losses during the recession. Raise taxes!
It's the "to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail" problem. Simply put, there is no government organ anywhere that has the institutional incentive to a) lose power, b) shrink its own budget, and c) make itself irrelevant. Abe-onomics, indeed. A recipe for another long, cold winter in Tokyo.