Left to right: Yuya Watase of the Tokyo Tea Party and Jikido “Jay” Aeba of HRP
wait while Herman Cain listens to translator Yuki Oikana.
Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from one of Herman Cain’s aides, asking if I could attend a meeting at 5 p.m. Well, sure, of course, but what was the meeting about? It was explained to me, and I was subsequently informed that I would be the only reporter in the room, at Mr. Cain’s specific request. The story was truly remarkable, and the exclusive is now online at The American Spectator:
Herman Cain’s famous 9-9-9 tax proposal has inspired international admiration, and two Japanese activists hope to bring their own version of the Atlanta businessman’s plan to their country.
During a private meeting Thursday with Tokyo Tea Party leader Yuya Watase and Jikido “Jay” Aeba of Japan’s Happiness Realization Party (HRP), Cain agreed to travel to Japan and speak at events to promote the idea.
“I would love to come and address your event in Japan, if that is something that you all would want me to do. . . . I would be honored to do so,” Cain told Aeba and Watase, who have organized public rallies against government proposals for higher taxes in Japan.
Cain’s 9-9-9 plan helped boost the retired restaurant executive to the top of the polls in October. His proposal — which would replace the current tax code with 9 percent flat taxes on personal income, corporate income and retail sales — was praised by the Wall Street Journal and others who credited Cain’s campaign with making tax reform a central focus of the debate among Republican presidential contenders.
Aeba, whose fledgling HRP has made tax reduction and economic growth a key part of its policy agenda, told Cain he wanted to adapt his 9-9-9 plan at an even lower rate: 7-7-7.
“We got this idea from the Americans for Tax Reform, Mr. Grover Norquist,” Aeba told Cain through a translator. When he heard Aeba pronounce “7-7-7,” Cain laughed approvingly.
“I understood that without translation,” Cain said, and immediately asked whether the 7 percent rate would be revenue-neutral. . . .