Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's claim that a Lehman-esque crisis loomed was nothing more than political maneuvering as he looked for an excuse to delay a consumption tax hike, skeptical analysts told CNBC.
Abe told world leaders at the Group of Seven (G-7) summit on Thursday that the global economy faced its toughest year since 2008, according to a Nikkei report. He justified the bold remark by pointing to data that showed commodities prices had tanked 55 percent since 2014, the same margin as prior to the global financial crisis that started with the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers .
He repeated those views on Friday, saying there was a risk of the global economy falling into crisis if appropriate policy responses weren't made, Reuters reported.
"This is part of Abe's plan to postpone the sales tax," explained Scott Seaman, Asia senior analyst at political consultancy Eurasia Group. "They [Japanese officials] have been saying for a long time that they aren't prepared to postpone the tax yet again unless they encounter a Lehman-type shock. That was the point Abe made."
Abe also announced on Friday that he would make a decision regarding the tax before July's Upper House election.