TOKYO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The head of Japan's banking industry body said on Thursday that the government should carry out a hike in the sales tax as planned unless the economy shows a big decline.
Nobuyuki Hirano, chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association, made the comment at a regular news conference.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe must decide by the end of the year whether to proceed with a previously approved plan to raise the sales tax to 10 percent from 8 percent in 2015, after a hike from 5 percent in April hit the economy hard. He has said the decision would hinge on the strength of economic indicators for the current quarter. (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Chris Gallagher)